26 August 2010
By S Ahmed Ali
25 Cr Party Drugs Seized In Largest Narcotics Bust
Eight foreign nationals have been arrested making it the third such bust in India in the last two years in which foreigners have been involved.
"Those arrested include six Iranians, an Indian–origin Dutch national and a Colombian national. They had come to India on tourist visas to manufacture methamphetamine and then smuggle it to the US,’’ an official said.
"We had received specific information that a few people were manufacturing drugs in Asangaon. Our teams raided Ganga Industrial estate there and seized 8.45 kg of methamphetamine crystals, 60 kg of ephedrine and 10 litres of methamphetamine in liquid form, totally worth Rs 13.75 crore,’’ said Yashodhan Wange, zonal director, NCB.
The six Iranian nationals have been identified as Masood Naserziyary (34), Hossein Aghaei (39), Amir Javed Dehdashti (24), Mohammedreza Zorgari (33), Sayyed Hosseini (35) and Gulam Azad (54). The Dutch national has been identified as Kishor Nandan. All the accused have been booked under various sections of NDPS Act and have been remanded to police custody.
"A few of the accused are chemists. The manufacturing unit is owned by Nandan who had rented it out to the accused. We are now verifying if Nandan was part of the cartel,’’ said Wange.
In another raid, sleuths of the NCB swooped down on a chemical factory at Hatkesh Udyog Nagar in Mira Road and seized 8 kg of amphetamine, 1.47 kg of methamphetamine, 280 kg of ephedrine tablets, 173 kg of pseudoephedrine tablets, 13,500 kg of pseudoephedrine powder, 26,310 tablets of Lorfast D tablets totally worth Rs 11.75 crore.
"This lab was into extracting pseudoephedrine from the ephedrine tablets which are easily available in the market. Two persons including one Colombian national was arrested in this case.’’ said Wange. The two have been identified as Jacob Modathil (58) who owns the premises and one Luis Carlos (48), a Colombian national.
"The foreign nationals assembled in India with the intention to manufacture these banned drugs as chemicals required as raw materials are easily available here. Besides, numerous small industrial units provide the perfect cover,’’ said Wange.
What is Methamphetamine
Popularly called Speed/Crack, it is a highly toxic drug which induces euphoria. Once consumed, its effects last for eight to ten hours.
Meth is also used as a stimulant and prescribed by doctors to treat ADHD (attention–deficit hyperactivity disorder). The side–effects include anorexia, hyperactivity, dilated pupils, restlessness, dry mouth, hypertension, blurred vision, dizziness, insomnia, numbness and palpitations.
Research shows that methamphetamine is a powerful addictive stimulant associated with serious health conditions, including memory loss, aggression, violence, psychotic behaviour and potential heart and neurological damage. It also contributes to increased transmission of infectious diseases, especially hepatitis and HIV/AIDS.
The Heady Trail
> In the past five years, India’s illegal trade with Mexican drug cartels has grown significantly. In fact, the prominent buyers of ephedrine are the Mexican drug cartels that synthesize methamphetamine from it in illegal laboratories located in Mexico, India and East European countries
> In 2008–2009, the DRI seized 872 kg of ephedrine, 37 metric tonnes of pseudoephedrine and 850 kg acetic anhydride in a single operation carried out in Hyderabad and a chemical factory in Nellore
> Last year, the NCB raided a chemical unit in Vadodra and seized huge quantity of drugs manufactured in a similar manner This is the third such bust in India in the last 2 years in which foreigners have been involved