Authorities have netted a record haul of cocaine at the Dhaka airport, raising questions about Bangladesh’s place in the drug trafficking network
The recent arrest of a Malawian woman with 8.5 kg of cocaine at Dhaka’s Shahjalal International Airport has reignited speculation about Bangladesh’s role as a potential transit route for drug smuggling.
Officials from the Department of Narcotics Control (DNC) assert that cocaine usage is not prevalent in Bangladesh and that Malawi, the woman’s home country, is not a known producer of cocaine.
They believe this incident was an attempt to smuggle the drug to another country.
Historically, intercepted cocaine shipments in Bangladesh have originated from South America, en route to European and North American markets.
The woman, 35-year-old Nomthandazo Towera Soko, arrived in Dhaka on a Qatar Airways flight from Africa.
She was detained before she could check into a hotel in Dhaka, according to Tanveer Mumtaz of the DNC. The seizure is ostensibly the largest in Bangladesh, with the cocaine valued at around Tk 1 billion.
Coinciding with Soko’s arrest, a Tanzanian named Mohammedi Ali was caught with 200 grams of cocaine in a Dhaka hotel.
Mojibur Rahman Patwari, additional director of the DNC in Dhaka, said that previous cocaine seizures in Bangladesh were primarily intended for smuggling to Europe. Investigations are ongoing to determine Soko’s intended destination for the drugs.