The first group was apprehended in the morning when the unit seized 10 kg of crude gold ornaments from 42 Sri Lankans including 28 women. The second group was apprehended in the afternoon when another 1.7 kilogram of gold was seized from 14 Sri Lankan nationals, including one woman. Both groups had reached from Sri Lanka and most of them were seen to be frequent travellers to India since September.
Customs officials at the Cochin International Airport said the matter would be reported to the Sri Lankan embassy soon besides adding that this was the first time that a Sri Lankan gold-smuggling racket was found.
The two groups of smugglers were arrested on Sunday morning and evening
The intelligence officials conducted a search after Sri Lankan flight UL 165 landed at Kochi around 9 pm. While the men wore ornaments but kept them hidden under large collars, the women hid them in their undergarments. It took nine hours to assess the total value of gold seized from each of the travellers, customs officials said.