Kenyan Woman Arrested at Mumbai Airport for Smuggling Sh29 Million Worth of Gold

A 40-year-old Kenyan woman found herself in custody at Mumbai Airport, India, on Sunday, accused of attempting to smuggle 3.4 kilograms of gold valued at Sh29 million.

The Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) revealed that the woman had concealed the gold within her innerwear and was apprehended as she attempted to exit the airport.

Customs officials reported that the Nairobi resident was intercepted near the exit gate of the Customs arrival baggage hall, having passed through the green channel and was en route to the primary exit.

“She was holding a passport issued by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, which was valid until 2032. She arrived from Nairobi to Mumbai on September 30,” stated a customs officer as reported by the Hindustan Times.

The inspection of her luggage unveiled 17 pieces of 22-carat melted gold bars concealed within her innerwear, as well as various items of 21-carat jewelry secreted on her person.

Kenyan Woman Arrested at Mumbai Airport for Smuggling Sh29 Million Worth of Gold
Kenyan Woman Arrested at Mumbai Airport for Smuggling Sh29 Million Worth of Gold

Notably, a kilogram of gold can fetch up to Sh8 million depending on the destination.

According to Indian media, she will be detained for 14 days while authorities investigate the potential involvement of a broader gold smuggling syndicate operating in Mumbai, which is often referred to as a hub for such illicit activities.

This incident follows a pattern of gold smuggling cases involving Kenyan nationals at Mumbai Airport. In April of the same year, nine Kenyan women were arrested for attempting to smuggle gold worth Sh156.4 million.

Reports indicate that significant quantities of gold, totaling Sh6 billion (Rs 360 crore), have been seized at the airport.

The modus operandi of such smuggling syndicates often involves the use of foreign individuals to discreetly transport gold into the country, despite Indian laws criminalizing the concealment of gold.

Indian law imposes severe penalties on individuals involved in smuggling, evasion of duties, or fraudulent claims of export incentives, as outlined in the Customs Act.

Smuggled goods can be confiscated, and hefty fines and penalties are applied. The law also provides for arrests and prosecution to deter smuggling activities, which can have serious economic and societal consequences, particularly regarding sensitive items such as drugs, arms, and ammunition.

These provisions are aimed at safeguarding the economy and society at large from the detrimental effects of illicit trade.

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Abdul is a journalist by profession having graduated from St.Paul University.

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