Hong Kong Customs Agents have discovered 217 kilograms of cocaine hidden inside a jet engine. This is the first-ever drug trafficking case to make use of an aircraft engine.
|This is the first-ever drug trafficking in an engine. Photo: Hong Kong Customs|
This seizure, worth HK$246 million ($31.7) is also the largest of its type so far in 2020. This is the largest seaborne cocaine trafficking case since 2012.
The jet engine was shipped from Ecuador back in March in a shipping container. However, the shipping container was never collected by the receiver.
Hong Kong Custom officials then took possession of the unclaimed shipping container on 20th May after it raised concern among custom officers.
|The engine was shipped in a shipping container. Photo: Hong Kong Customs|
The engine raised concern among the custom staffs, as jet engines are rarely imported from South America.
The custom officials dismantled the engine after X-ray scans of the jet engine showed a strange structure, different from a typical jet engine, according to the South China Morning Post.
Officers found the cocaine hidden inside after they drilled a hole into the camber’s outer shell, before using a borescope to check the internal structure of the jet engine.
|The engine was initially reported as a Boeing 737 engine Photo: CBSNews|
Initially, the engine was reported as a Boeing 737 engine, although some unconfirmed reports suggest the engine was engraved with “Boeing 707.”
The engine was considered as an unserviceable one, owing to its poor internal condition and old age. However, the engine was spray-painted to look new, and many of it’s internal components were missing.
|Cocaine was found in eight containers. Photo: Nora Tam|
The custom officials discovered a total of eight containers within the engine that contained a total of 217 kilograms of the illegal drugs.
Only some of the cocaine was shipped for local consumption whereas much was to be shipped further to other countries, according to Hong Kong’s Customs Drug Investigation Bureau.
The consignee of the shipment is a Hong Kong-based trading company. The custom officers are still in search for a male director and a female employee of the trading company.
|The engine was an old rusty one. Photo: Hong Kong Customs|
In a press conference, Customs superintendent Barry Chu Yin-min said:
“We believe the case is associated with a multi-national drug trafficking organisation, judging from its way of handling and the amount of drugs.”
|This is the largest seaborne trafficking since 2012. Photo: Nora Tam|
This is the largest seaborne cocaine trafficking case since 2012. The 2012 case also included a shipment from Ecuador.
The custom officers seized a record 649 kilograms of the illegal cocaine worth HK$760 million in 2012.
Have you ever heard about similar trafficking case? Feel free to share in the comments below: