Two oil tankers were impounded on Wednesday from Cachar district along Assam-Mizoram border, while four people including two drivers and two sailors of the tankers have been arrested, a police officer informed.
Oil tankers carrying fuel to Mizoram are smuggling Myanmar-origin betel nuts on way back to Assam, officials said.
Betel nuts are usually smuggled from Myanmar to Mizoram by trucks. However, due to an increase in police vigil, the smugglers changed their strategy and now using oil tankers to do the same.
Earlier, liquor was smuggled in tankers, but this is the first time that betel nut smuggling has been unearted in oil tankers.
A police officer informed that one oil tanker illegally carrying Myanmar-origin betel nuts was detained at the Dhwaraband area in Cachar. It was coming from Mizoram via Hailakandi-Bilaipur road. The driver of the tanker, Kamrul Hossain Laskar, and his associate Akbar Hossain Majumdar alias Raju Pal were arrested. One-hundred-seventy sacks of betel nuts were seized from the tanker. Each bag contains about 18 kg. In all, the amount of betel nut seized is 30 quintals and 60 kg.
Police claimed that Kamrul and Raju admitted during the interrogation that they were returning from Mizoram after unloading fuel there. A few people in the Kolashiv area in that state talked to them and loaded the sacks of betel nuts. They had to deliver the betel nuts to somewhere in Silchar, but they were caught on their way.
Another oil tanker trying to smuggle betel nuts was caught in the Lailapur area of the district in the morning. The driver Babul Hossain Laskar and helper Badrul Haque Laskar were arrested. Around 10 tons of Burmese betel nuts were seized from this tanker.
According to police sources, the smugglers lured the drivers of the tanker by promising them to pay handsome money for carrying the betel nuts.