On a tip-off, the Audit, Investigation and Research (AIR) team of customs house Chattogram suspended the release process and conducted a physical examination of the consignment.
Upon the physical examination, 12 tonnes of mustard seeds and 42 tonnes of poppy seeds were found in place of the 54 tonnes of mustard seeds as declared by the importer.
Mustard seeds were found in sacks kept near the door of the container, while sacks containing poppy seeds were kept in the rear side.
Rezaul Karim, assistant commissioner, AIR branch, Chattogram customs house, said samples of the seized poppy seeds were subsequently sent to the Narcotics Control Department in Dhaka for chemical testing.
The government agency has certified that those are indeed poppy seeds, the official added.
According to international market price, the value of the seized 42 tonnes of poppy seeds is around Tk 150 million.
However, the importer has paid Tk 2,200,000 through the letter of credit for the import of mustard seeds, and thus may have violated the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.
The Bangladesh government has banned the import of poppy seeds as they are used to make various drugs, including opium.
Chattogram customs house is preparing to file a case accusing the importer. The anti-money laundering unit of the department is also looking into possible violations of the Prevention of Money Laundering Act.