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A 32-YEAR-OLD Zimbabwean student was arrested at Thiruvananthapuram Airport in India last Wednesday after being found in possession of 25 kilogrammes of ephedrine drugs worth over US$1,7 million.

Elder Rizive was studying at Amity University, a private university in India, and according to media reports the drugs were concealed in 38 boxes of hair accessories and were worth 100 million Indian rupees.

Rizive attempted to smuggle the contraband on a Qatar-bound flight.

She was arrested around 3:30am by the Air Intelligence Unit, Air Customs, led by Assistant Commissioner Sanjay Bangartale, on her way to Johannesburg.

The controlled substance, in crystal form, was concealed in polythene pouches and kept in small wooden boxes.

Rizive is alleged to have told the officials that it was her first attempt to smuggle the drugs.

She had arrived in Thiruvananthapuram last Tuesday on an Indigo flight from Delhi and checked in at a private lodging on Manjalikkulam Road in the city.

Rizive said the package was handed over by a Nigerian national at the lodge.

According to her, the consignment was meant to reach Johannesburg and she was supposed to hand it over to another carrier who would meet her in Doha.

Rizive had reached the country on a student visa for studies at the Delhi campus of a private university in March.

The officials suspect the smuggling move was conducted by an international racket based in Harare.

In December 2012, a 43-year-old Zimbabwean woman was arrested in December 2012 for smuggling ephedrine, used to make Methamphetamine (a prescribed drug), at Indira Gandhi International Airport.

Lydia Ndira Murwira returned to the country last month after spending more than 15 months in prison.

In 2012, 16 Zimbabwean women were stuck in Asian jails — 14 convicted of drug smuggling and two others awaiting the conclusion of their trial facing the death penalty if convicted.

Of the 16 women, 14 were jailed in China where they had been convicted of offences ranging from drug trafficking to illegal ivory trade.

Source : The Herald