Manama: Up to 75 per cent of the cocaine seized at Doha airport last year was from Brazil, an official said.

“We have found out that 85 per cent of the cocaine from the Latin American country was merely transiting through Doha and that it was destined for consumption in African and Asian countries,” Ahmad Al Khayarain, an official at the airport, told local daily Al Arab . He said that the Qatari authorities had a 90 per cent success rate in identifying mules.

“There is a lot of cooperation to help tackle the issue. For instance, we work closely with the employees of Qatar Airways. Those who transport drugs in their stomachs refuse to eat or drink and they of course become suspicious when the flight is long and they do not eat or drink anything,” he said.

According to the official, the authorities have foiled the smuggling of more than 40,000 pills in the first six months of the year. “In 2012, we had 1,580 cases of attempted smuggling.”

Customs Inspector Saif Al Kuwari said that most of the mules were from Nigeria and Tanzania. “They really put their lives at risk by carrying between 40 and 110 pills in their stomachs. They usually receive $5,000 (Dh18,360) for their dirty work and quite often, the notes are fake,” he said, quoted by the daily on Monday.

Al Kuwari said that the authorities were ready to foil any attempt to smuggle money across the borders. “Anyone who has more than 70,000 riyals (Dh68,436) has to declare them. There is no problem about how much passengers can carry as long as they declare them. We had instances of passengers having up to $5 million in their suitcases. Many Libyan merchants carry cash with them as they transit through Doha on their way to China for their shopping. When people declare the amounts they have with them, they contribute to the anti-money laundering fight,” he said.