• A probe is underway to ascertain the source and the destination of the smuggled drug.
• The woman was to hand over the drug to peddlers in the national capital, airport officials said.
A Kenyan woman was arrested at Kempegowda International Airport, India for smuggling 2.6 kilos of cocaine valued at about Sh13 million.
The narcotics were under the false bottom of her suitcase, officials said.
In Kenya, a kilo of cocaine is estimated to be worth between Sh4 million and Sh5 million, whereas in the international market, its value can escalate to as much as Sh12 million, according to police.
Indian media said local police of the Bengaluru unit of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) apprehended the 36-year-old before she could fly out on Monday, January 15.
A probe is underway to ascertain the source and the destination of the smuggled drug.
Local authorities said outward smuggling of cocaine, said to be the first from Bengaluru on a domestic flight, was busted earlier in the week after a specific tip-off.
The investigators reached the airport on Makara Sankranti morning and combed the departure bay of terminal 1 and soon intercepted the Kenyan passport-holder who was waiting to board an IndiGo flight to Delhi.
The single-piece luggage the Kenyan had checked was recalled by officials.
A thorough examination of the suitcase revealed that it had a false bottom the investigators cut it open to unearth two large pouches sealed with brown duct tape.
Slicing it open revealed white powder, which a lab test later established as the purest form of cocaine weighing 2.6 kg.
The woman was to hand over the drug to peddlers in the national capital, airport officials said.
Interrogation of the woman revealed that she had come to India in August 2023 on a tourist visa and resided in Mumbai before reaching Bengaluru this year.
The DRI team booked her under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and produced her before a magistrate.
She was remanded in judicial custody and sent to Bengaluru Central Prison Monday night.
The probe revealed she had come to Bengaluru on the pretext of textile trade but is suspected to have sourced the cocaine from her links in the city.
The substance is believed to be of South American origin.
Throughout 2023, several Kenyans were arrested in drug-related cases abroad.
For example, in December a Kenyan woman passenger was arrested at Mumbai's Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport for allegedly smuggling cocaine.
She was intercepted carrying 1.4 kilos of cocaine valued at approximately Sh8 million, officials reported.
In June, Indian authorities detained a Kenyan woman at the New Delhi airport for smuggling 2.5 kilograms of cocaine from Addis Ababa, concealed in whisky bottles.
On September 24, a Kenyan car dealer was arrested in Sri Lanka, at the Bandaranaike International Airport with 4 kilograms of cocaine with an estimated worth of Sh24 million.