Vol. 5 Num 658 Tue. April 04, 2006  
Front Page

5 Bangladeshi companies smuggled heroin to UK
NBR probe finds British customs report true

An investigation report by the National Board of Revenue (NBR) found that five Bangladeshi business institutions are involved in smuggling heroin to the United Kingdom in the guise of exporting foods, toiletries, cosmetics and tiles.

The Customs Intelligence and Investigation Department (CIID) also conducted an investigation through a high-powered committee following allegations made by the UK customs in May 2005.

A media report about UK customs' allegations was first published in The Daily Star on July 12, 2005 titled 'UK customs detect smuggling of 75kg heroin from Dhaka. Drug reached London in guise of tiles, cosmetics, food'.

The NBR prepared its report two months ago and submitted to the home ministry, said an NBR source.

A sources in Criminal Investigation Department (CID) said CID, Rapid Action Battalion (Rab) and Special Branch (SB) of the police are investigating the smuggling ring.

A meeting was held in this connection at the home ministry a few days ago, sources said.

The investigation report found that a leading private company, BD Foods Limited, and its sister concerns manipulated the entire export process, starting from getting a trade license to shipment of consignments to the UK ports.

The report found the chairman of BD Foods Limited, Badrul Haider Choudhury, guilty of smuggling heroin to the UK. Some employees of the company are also implicated in the report.

Messrs Emdad Traders, Messrs Jamil International, Messrs MM Enterprise and Green Heaven Enterprise smuggled drugs to Ocean Line Foods, Messrs Bengal Bay and Coastal Spices in the United Kingdom in the guise of legitimate export consignments.

The recipients of the consignments sent to England were Sohel Ahmed, Shah Alam, Shamsul Islam and Ranu Mia.

According to the investigation report the suspect companies are sister concerns of BD Foods Ltd. In the report three persons -- Shamsul Arefin, Nazmul Haider Choudhury, and Mainuddin -- are accused of smuggling heroin. Shamsul Arefin is the owner of Emdad Traders. The other two are employees of King and Company, a sister concern of BD Foods.

The report said during interrogation by the investigators the manager of King and Company, Mainuddin, failed to reply satisfactorily.

The investigators also found link between Nazmul Haider Choudhury and the chairman of BD Foods Ltd, Badrul Haider Choudhury.

The report said some officials at Dhaka City Corporation, the National Board of Revenue, Chittagong Port Authority, Sonali Bank, Customs Department, and customs clearing and forwarding agents are also involved in the illicit trade of drugs.

These exporting companies' existence remain only on papers and their trade licenses, tax identification numbers and business identification numbers are false.

"The offices of two of the companies -- Messrs MM Enterprise and Green Heaven Enterprise -- could not be found during the course of investigation," said the report. "Most of the companies are owned by employees of the BD Foods Limited," the report added.

Narcotics department sources said, after unearthing income tax certificates from Motijheel Value Added Tax Office and trade licenses from Dhaka City Corporation, the investigators confirmed that Shamsul Arefin is the owner of Jamil International and Messrs Emdad Trading.

The UK customs and excise department in a letter sent through the British deputy high commissioner in Mumbai on May 20, 2005 asked the Customs Intelligence and Investigation Department of Bangladesh to probe the drug trafficking ring.

According to the letter signed by Simon Sutcliffe, an official of the British mission, Green Heaven Enterprise of 64, BK Dash Road, Sutrapore, Emdad Trading of 195/1, Fakirapool and Jamil International of 190, Fakirapool, Dhaka sent the drugs by three manifested shipments of floor tiles, beauty products and foodstuff. The shipments reached Britain on February 14, March 3, and April 17 last year.