Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport officials said on Friday they arrested a man bound for the Maldives for allegedly carrying 1,791 smuggled Yaba tablets before he boarded his flight.

Aviation security officials at the airport said the passenger, Al Amin, 42, from Chandpur, was carrying the tablets concealed in a mobile phone charger.

Group Captain AHM Touhid-ul Ahsan, the airport’s executive director, said the arrest was made at the pre-boarding scanner at gate 4 during final screening of an airline flight Q2 503 Maldives which was to take off around 1:30 a.m.

The suspect was taken to the security room and questioned before being handed over to the Narcotics Control Department.

DNC Inspector Hossain Mia told New Age that Al Amin told them that a Manik had given him the charger’s package to transport to the Maldives.

Hossain said Al Amin was employed as a security guard in the Maldivian capital of Male, where he had worked for more than 17 years.

He came to Bangladesh in November 2021 and was returning that day. “His passport did not show that he traveled frequently, but we suspect he was tricked,” Hossain said.

The DNC inspector lodged a complaint against him.

Several arrests of Bangladeshi expatriates with smuggled drugs in recent years have raised concerns among security and narcotics officials.

Narcotics control officials said their investigations revealed that in most cases, Bangladeshi workers carried the smuggled drugs at the request of others, but were caught at airports.

DNC officials stationed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport said at least 21 Bangladeshis, mostly workers, were arrested in 2021 as they headed to different destinations, mostly Saudi Arabia.

Various airport agencies seized around 50,000 Yaba pills in 2021.

Kusum Dewan, director of operations and intelligence at the DNC, expressed concern over repeated incidents of outbound passengers being arrested with Yaba pills and they were also trying to identify the people behind the smuggling.

DNC authorities had advised all passengers not to carry any goods for others without knowledge or examination.