Bangladesh detains Malawian woman with record 8.5 kg cocaine haul

This is the country's biggest ever seizure of solid cocaine, worth an estimated Tk 1 billion, authorities say

Published : 25 Jan 2024, 10:42 AM
Updated : 25 Jan 2024, 10:42 AM

The Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) has apprehended a Malawian woman with around 8.5 kilograms of cocaine, the largest seizure of solid cocaine by Bangladeshi authorities.

Authroties detained 35-year-old Nomthandazo Towera Soko with the drugs, valued at around Tk 1 billion, at Dhaka's Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport on Thursday.

Soko was planning to check into a residential hotel in Dhaka but was arrested before she could leave the airport, according to Tanveer Mumtaz, director of operations and intelligence at the DNC.

The DNC had initiated an operation two days ago based on a tip-off about a cocaine shipment arriving in Bangladesh.

The focus was on foreign passengers arriving from Africa on Qatar Airways flights.

Soko drew suspicion due to the weight of her luggage. Upon inspection, authorities found 1 kg of cocaine in a folder she was carrying and subsequently discovered another 8 kilograms of the drug wrapped in carbon paper hidden inside her luggage.

Soko has visited Bangladesh on several occasions as a shoe and garment trader, and came to the country this year under the same pretext.

Further investigations revealed the involvement of several local individuals and another foreign national in the smuggling operation.