64-year-old Armando Lopes Reyes might not have thought that he would get trapped in an international cocaine scandal, the moment he'll land in India.
The innocent-looking man hailed from Lima in Peru and is a father of seven.
Moments later, he was being grilled by the investigators of the Delhi police for carrying two bags having 1.3 Kg of ‘pure cocaine' worth Rs 6.5 crore – one of the biggest seizures done by Delhi police.
Days later, while he is still behind bars, police is running in all directions to unravel the mystery of this newly emerged cocaine trail of which they have no clue. The jig-saw puzzle has only some pieces in open that this old man is the channel of transfer and the cartel spans from Brazil's Sao Paulo to New Delhi including Dubai.
The handler Juan (about whom Reyes told through a translator) and Ali who was supposed to receive the consignment from Reyes are all unknown figures.
The old man was very nervous and hardly spoke when he got caught by the policemen. He pleaded innocence. Even the policemen interrogating him couldn't believe at first that he was really smuggling cocaine. He was well-dressed, much fit for his age and carried costly accessories in his bag and on getting checked for health was found having diseases common of his age like high blood pressure and diabetes.
The sad part, that he did all this only for $1500, out of which he received $1000 at the Sao Paulo airport along with the two bags and $500 which he was supposed to get on return.
Through the translator, he told that he had been to India earlier also but it was on the return trip on the last journey from Mumbai to home via Delhi that he met this unknown man – the informer of the police and got traced.
“On a trip to Sao Paulo, late in 2014, he said he was having a drink at a restaurant when a man who identified himself as Juan struck up a conversation with him. He claimed that Juan offered air fare and US$ 1500 to smuggle cocaine to India — US$ 1000 at the airport and US$ 500 on return. He told us that Juan handed over the two bags at the Sao Paulo airport,” the translator said.
It was difficult for interrogators and Reyes to understand each other as they did not understand each other's language. However, later through a translator, the investigators came to know that he was to stay in a hotel in Paharganj and was also given a SIM card by the handlers to contact Ali, who was supposed to take the consignment from him.
As mentioned in a report by Indian Express, Delhi's Additional Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Bisham Singh told that Reyes' family has been informed about his arrest and if convicted he could be sentenced to a minimum of 10 years of jail.
He further said that in such games of big money changing hands across countries, it is usually the small fish that gets caught and neither the rich youth who consume drugs nor the handlers who operate from behind closed doors get affected.