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WhatsApp helps pin Kerala man in int’l drug smuggling case

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In an era dominated by technology, digital communication platforms like WhatsApp have become valuable tools for law enforcement agencies to crack cases and solve complex investigations. Enforcement officers say the instantaneous nature of messaging apps has proven to be a game-changer in cracking cases despite being widely used by criminals for illegal activities.

The Special Intelligence and Investigation Branch of Customs has pinned an accused in a major drug case, involving an international racket that ships LSD to buyers through International Mail Centres, with the help of evidence gathered from WhatsApp.

According to the case details, it was on September 2 that the accused identified as Chandu P of Ernakulam was arrested by the Customs team after a parcel containing 123 LSD stamps weighing 1.42 grams arrived from abroad at the International Mail Centre (IMC) in Kochi addressed to him. Customs could zero in on the parcel based on specific intelligence information.

While the accused, who moved a bail petition before a court in Ernakulam, maintained that he could not be arrested merely because a parcel arrived in his name, the probe team presented strong digital evidence confirming his alleged role. The probe team produced chats retrieved from WhatsApp and other electronic evidence to prove his alleged role in the case. “There are WhatsApp chats and other materials which point towards his connection with the other accused and intention to procure the contraband,” the Customs submitted.

Cyber forensic officials said digital communication platforms are a treasure trove of potential evidence. “We can obtain crucial leads by analysing messages, multimedia content, and call records. The metadata associated with these communications often serves as a digital footprint, guiding law enforcement in understanding the chronology of events and identifying key players in criminal enterprises,” the officials said

Detectives and investigators are now able to swiftly gather and analyse information, accelerating the pace of their work. Several messaging platforms’ end-to-end encryption, once considered a challenge for law enforcement, has become major evidence for the agencies to efficiently prove the case.

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