Entebbe, Uganda | By Michael Wandati | In a remarkable display of vigilance and efficiency, the customs enforcement team at Entebbe International Airport successfully intercepted a high-end smartphones smuggling ring on November 21, 2023.
Acting on intelligence gathered from a reliable source in Dubai, the customs team identified and apprehended three newly recruited ‘contraband carriers,’ ingeniously concealing a significant number of high-end smartphones on their persons. The trio had managed to beat the screening process in the Emirates and were on their way to Uganda.
The operation not only showcased the dedication of the customs enforcement team at Entebbe International Airport but also underscored the evolving tactics employed by smugglers to circumvent airport security measures.
The smuggling operation
The individuals targeted by the customs enforcement team were described as an elder in a grey Kanzu and two ladies in long dresses, one black and one green. Acting swiftly upon the received information, the team intercepted the suspects as they landed at Entebbe Airport at 11:00 am, escorting them to the customs offices for further investigation.
Upon thorough frisking, the elder was found to have 38 pieces of assorted Chinese phones concealed around his legs, pants, and chest. The lady in green was carrying 72 mobile phones, while her counterpart in black had 33. The phones were ingeniously tied around their waists and other inconspicuous places, revealing the smugglers’ meticulous efforts to avoid detection.
Expansion of the operation
Undeterred, the customs team extended their operation to focus on passenger baggage, with a particular emphasis on abandoned luggage. By December 1, the team had uncovered an additional 120 pieces of assorted mobile phones concealed in silver plates, clothing, and various wrappings designed to outsmart the Non-Intrusive Inspection scanners at the airport.
The seized inventory (high-end smartphones)
The scale of the smuggling operation became apparent as the customs team compiled an extensive list of the seized high-end smartphones. The inventory included high-end devices from renowned brands, such as:
- iPhones: 04 iPhone 15, 03 iPhone 12 Pro, 03 iPhone 13 Pro, 07 iPhone 13, 03 iPhone X
- Samsung: 03 Samsung Folds, 06 Samsung Galaxy S22, 10 Samsung Galaxy A34 5g, 33 Samsung Galaxy A03 Core, and various other models
- Huawei: 03 devices
- Tecno: 27 Camon, 19 Pro Camon, 05 Tecno 10 Spark
- Oppo: 22 devices
- Sharp: 06 devices
- Google Pixel: 02 Pixel 3 and 02 Pixel 6pro
- Vivo: 05 devices
- Urban: 08 devices
The successful interception of this sophisticated smuggling operation at Entebbe Imternational Airport highlights the unwavering commitment of the customs enforcement team to safeguard national borders.
The incident also underscores the need for continuous innovation in security measures to stay ahead of increasingly creative smuggling techniques.
This collaborative effort serves as a testament to the importance of international cooperation and intelligence-sharing in combating transnational organized crime.