The liquid cocaine concealed in an edible oil container seized in Chittagong Port was bound for India, intelligence officials say.
They suspect drug dealers of Bangladesh, India, the United Kingdom and Bolivia were involved in the smuggling under the cover of edible oil trade.
The Directorate of Customs Intelligence and Investigation has arrested four people for their suspected involvement in the act of smuggling.
CII officials said they had information that an expatriate Bangladeshi living in the UK and an Indian living in Kolkata were involved in the drug peddling.
They could not ascertain the quantity of cocaine mixed with sunflower oil in a barrel shipped from Bolivia but suspect a third of the 185 kg drum contains drug.
The existence of cocaine was found in the barrel, seized from a container at the port, after their contents were retested in two laboratories in Dhaka.
A case was filed with Bandar Police Station under Narcotics Control Act on Sunday, naming two persons, over the drug haul and a committee was constituted to investigate the smuggling.
CII convened a press conference on the drug haul in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Its Director General Mainul Khan reiterated at the press meet that smugglers had plans to use Bangladesh as transit for the consignment.
After the cocaine haul, he had said on June 7 that Bangladesh was not the destination of the container.
He said they got documentary evidence suggesting a ring had tried to use Bangladesh as transit.
“Because the firm whose name was used as importer hasn’t claimed the container in the 25 five days (after it reached Chittagong port). Rather a third party tried to re-export the container to another country,” he said.
Port officials said the container imported from Bolivia was shipped at Uruguay’s capital Montevideo and it arrived in Chittagong on May 12 via Singapore.
Import documents show Khan Jahan Ali Limited is the consignee of the container but no one claimed the goods after they arrived in the port.
Khan Jahan Ali Limited Chairman Nur Mohammad claimed one of his employees was involved in the ‘import of oil’ that was brought in without his knowledge.
As per the import documents, the consignment was that of sunflower oil.
The CII sealed the container at the NCT yard of Chittagong port on June 7 after arrest of Golam Mostafa Sohel, Manager of Prime Hatchery, a sister concern of Khan Jahan Ali Limited, based on an intelligence report.
Customs intelligence arrested three other people in Dhaka on Tuesday for their suspected involvement in the smuggling.