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Mastermind of gold smuggling network arrested

17 Jun, 2024 08:35 IST|Sakshi Post

Lucknow, June 17 (IANS) More than two months after 29 gold smugglers escaped from the custody of Customs officials at the Lucknow airport, the department arrested one of the alleged masterminds.

The network indulged in the smuggling of gold and cigarettes and was being allegedly operated by smugglers based in India and Gulf countries.

The arrested man was identified as Mohammad Sadiq, 40, of Kanda village in Uttar Pradesh's Rampur district, the Customs officials said.

“The capture of Mohammad Sadiq is a major breakthrough for our department. He is one of the kingpins and we expect to extract critical information regarding the 29 smugglers who escaped on April 3,” said a senior official on Monday.

The smuggling ring has been a focal point for the Customs Department’s investigations due to its sophisticated operations and significant financial implications.

The network’s ability to orchestrate large-scale smuggling efforts across international borders has raised concerns about the effectiveness of current security measures at major transit points, including airports.

The officials are quizzing him about his modus operandi, other aides, their hideouts and transactions etc. The arrest comes after an intensive manhunt and strategic operations by the Customs Department aimed at dismantling the smuggling syndicate.

Authorities are hopeful that Sadiq’s interrogation will reveal valuable insights into the modus operandi of the smuggling ring and lead to further arrests.

If proven guilty under the Customs Act, Mohammad Sadiq will face up to six years of rigorous imprisonment. This case underscores the ongoing challenges faced by law enforcement agencies in curbing smuggling activities and securing national borders.

While 28 gold smugglers hail from Rampur’s Tanda village, one is from Uttarakhand and all of them know each other well, the official said.

The escape of these 29 smugglers was caught on CCTV cameras of the airport.

As per the officials, there has been a sixfold increase in gold seizures during the 2023-2024 in Uttar Pradesh. Smuggled gold items weighing about 140 kg were recovered at Lucknow, Varanasi and a few other airports in the state by different agencies, including Customs in the said period.

Disclaimer: This story has not been edited by the Sakshi Post team and is auto-generated from syndicated feed.

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