Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) today destroyed 370 litres of South American liquid cocaine that were smuggled into Chattogram Port from Bolivia in guise of sunflower oil consignment in 2015.
In presence of Home Minster Asaduzzaman Khan Kamal, senior Rab officials destroyed the liquid cocaine during a programme at Rab-7 headquarters in the port city’s Patenga area following a court order.
The destroyed cocaine was worth Tk 9,000 crore, Rab claimed.
Terming the cocaine haul in 2015 the biggest ever made in Bangladesh, Asaduzzaman Khan said, “It [the smuggling incident] was beyond our imagination.”
“When the consignment was unearthed, there were lots of difficulties…. however, our security forces and customs officials were able to seize the consignment and found the evidence of liquid cocaine on it,” the home minister said.
The minister also lauded Rab for its role in the investigation.
“Individuals and groups involved in cocaine smuggling at home and abroad were already identified and charges will be pressed against them,” said Rab Director General (DG) Benazir Ahmed.
“Involvement of two Bangladeshi-origin UK citizens were found in the smuggling and we are trying to arrest them through Interpol… we have already arrested all the other accused in the case,” he added.
The investigation found links to two Bangladesh-origin UK citizens -- Bakul and Fazlur -- in the cocaine smuggled from Uruguay.
On June 6 in 2015, the Directorate of Customs Intelligence and Investigation (CIID) sealed the container carrying 2,140 kilogrammes of suspected liquid cocaine in 107 drums at the Chattogram Port.
CIID officials said the container was boarded on a ship from Montevideo, Uruguay after being imported from Bolivia and arrived at the port on May 13, 2015 via Singapore.
The container was imported by one Khan Jahan Ali Limited with an address of Chattogram’s Khatungonj attached, said the CIID officials.
Primary physical examination conducted on June 8 found no evidence of cocaine. Later, existence of cocaine was found in two drums out of 107 in a laboratory test conducted in Dhaka on June 27.
On the following day, a case was filed with Bandar Police Station and the Detective Branch of Chattogram Metropolitan Police (CMP) began investigation into the case. A Chattogram court on July 14 ordered the investigators to attach the section of Special Powers Act with the case.
On July 8, according to court’s order, samples from the oil drums were sent to Armed Forces Food and Laboratories, Directorate of Narcotic Control’s lab and Criminal Investigation Department (CID)’s lab for further examinations which found existence of cocaine.