Nigerians try to smuggle heroin in India

Indian police have arrested three Nigerians who allegedly tried to smuggle millions of dollars (euros) worth of heroin to their homeland hidden in car shock absorbers, police and news reports said Wednesday.

"The three men are now in judicial custody," said Ashwini Khosla, a New Delhi police official. He said they would be tried within two months and could face a minimum of 10 years in prison.

On Monday, police, acting on a tip, arrested two of the men in New Delhi as they boarded a train for Bombay and seized some 21 kilograms (46 pounds) of heroin stashed inside car shock absorbers, the Hindustan Times reported.

The Nigerians had come to India on business visas, claiming they traded in automobile components, it said.

Another 14 kilograms (31 pounds) of heroin was seized from a third Nigerian arrested in Bombay on the same day, the newspaper said, quoting unnamed revenue intelligence officials.

The heroin was worth nearly 350 million rupees (US$7.8 million; Ђ6.5 million) in the United States, it said.

The Nigerians said they decided to travel by train to escape stringent security checks at New Delhi's airport, The Indian Express newspaper reported.

"Given the security at the Delhi international airport, we decided to take the train route to Bombay and fly from there. There is no checking on the trains in India," it quoted one of the arrested men as saying.

The heroin was packed in 112 shock absorbers which had been hollowed out, filled and then sealed, the newspaper said, reports the AP. I.L.

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