Frank Bailey was at work at Baltimore-Washington International Airport one day in August 1977 when a stranger approached him with a business proposition.

Bailey, a customs broker, shepherds cargo shipments through U.S. Customs for commercial clients in other cities - a job that keeps him familiar with area airports and in close proximity to government customs procedures.

Within a few days Bailey was on his way to India to keep an appointment with a suspected international drug ring and an Amercian financial consultant waiting for him at New Delhi's Intercontinental Hotel.

"In certain situations people need to make a lot of money," said the consultant, who questioned Bailey about dogs used by U.S. customs officers to sniff out narcotics at airports, and about other customs practices.

But Bailey did not tell his business contact that before taking off for India, he had informed customs officials that he had been approached and had made the trip in cooperation with federal authorities.

Bailey later made periodic reports about subsequent meetings to U.S. Customs agent Ed Ford, who testified yesterday in U.S. District Court in ALexandria.

The Ford-Bailey contacts led to a major hashisp and marijuana raid last December at Dulles International Airport and the subsequent indictment of 12 men, including the consultant - identified as Atlanta businessman William S. Coury.

The defendants are accused of taking part in an international drug ring that grossed more that $52 million in six years, according to federal officials. The reputed ringleader, Donald D. Haynie of West Palm Beach, Fla., and 10 others are scheduled for trial in two weeks on multiple conspiracy and drug charges.

Coury last week agreed to plead guilty in Georgia to a charge of conspiracy to im- port and distribute hashish and marijauna and has cooperated with the government, prosecutors said yesterday.

Police officials from Georgia, Florida and Massachusetts have testified for two days about their encounters with the 12 men in separate drug incidents that were later tied to the larger alleged ring.

The testimony was intended to bolster prosecutors' contentions that searches on those occasions, which revealed either drugs or sums of money ranging from $90,000 to $126,000, were proper. Defense attorneys claim that because most of the searchers were carried out without search warrants, they were illegal.

According to Ford, Bailey called him at home on the evening of Aug. 28, 1977, after being contacted earlier that day by Atam P. Serin, a New Delhi customs broker. Serin was indicted along with the others, but is still at large.

Bailey "had been asked by Atam Serin to go to India as soon as possible to discuss a business proposition," Ford said Bailey told him that night. "He had never been exposed to that type of situation before."

Ford said he told Bailey to go to India and a week later Bailey reported back.

Bailey said he flew to India, met Serin, went to the Intercontinental Hotel and met William S. Coury, who identified himself as a businessman from Atlanta," Ford said.

Coury told Bailey, "In certain situations people need to make money in a hurry," Ford testified. "He (Coury) wanted information about customs like narcotics sniffer dogs. He was interested in where the sniffer dogs were placed."

During October, Ford said, Coury met Bailey at Dulles and gave him $500 in cash to reserve a warehouse for storing drugs.

Bailey then told Ford on Dec. that a half ton of hashish would be included in a shipment of brass door knockers and would arrive on a Pan American flight for New Delhi on Dec. 3.

Because of an error by the airline the shipment arrived at Dulles on Dec. 4. Drug Enforcement Administration agents confiscated the drugs and later arrested Haynie, Coury and nine other persons at motels in Maryland and Virginia.