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Illegal Drug Trade Scales New Heights
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By Mayank Soni
Contraband Worth More Than Rs 4 Cr Was Seized In 2009, But Drugs Like Ecstasy & LSD Continue To Escape The Police Net
Going by data compiled by the Mumbai police, Hashish or charas continues to be the most popular drug; the police seized a little more than 434 kg of hashish worth Rs 3.16 crore between January and November 2009. During the same period in 2008, only Rs 81.76 lakh worth of this contraband was confiscated by the authorities.
The second highest illegally traded drug in Mumbai according to police figures is heroin. ANC officials intercepted half a dozen consignments in the city last year and seized heroin worth Rs 92.21 lakh.
Another popular drug, marijuana (ganja), continues to see a growing, albeit illegal trade. While marijuana worth Rs 4.89 lakh was seized in 2008, the figure stood at Rs 29.66 lakh in 2009.
Commenting on this sharp rise in drug busts in a span of one year, DCP Sunil Paraskar (ANC) said, “We have been pro–active, and studying the modus operandi of drug peddlers, due to which we have been able to get precise information leading to seizures and arrests.”
The two main consignments of narcotics caught in 2009 were that of heroin, allegedly carried by IPS officer Saji Mohan, and charas, supplied by members of the notorious Abdul Thana gang, said an officer.
The Mumbai police arrested a total of 269 persons for drug pedalling and booked 2,689 persons for illegal consumption of drugs in 2009.
And while the ANC can be credited for their efforts, sources say that last year’s seizures account for only a small segment of the narcotics circulating in the city. “In most of the major consignments that has been recovered to date, the people arrested are only the delivery boys. Despite all their efforts, the police have not been able to access the higher links in the drug chain and cut off supply,” said a police official on condition of anonymity.
Also, marijuana, heroin and cannabis are not representative of the nature of drug abuse in Mumbai. Cocaine, LSD, ecstasy, and party drugs that cover a wide range of amphetamine–type stimulants and ketamine are extremely popular but usually escape detection.
In fact in 2009, officials intercepted only Rs.29.66 lakh worth of cocaine, which is around 10 per cent less than the haul in 2008. One such ‘haul’ took place in September 2009, when the Air Intelligence Unit (AIU) detained a Nigerian lady at the international airport in Mumbai for possession of cocaine. She had swallowed 83 tablets containing cocaine. Explaining the modus operandi, a police officer said, “The peddlers make small tablets each filled with 10 gm of cocaine. They put it in a thin plastic sheet and then wrap it with electric (pressure–sensitive) tape so that does the tablets do not dissolve in the stomach. The carrier then swallows around 80 such tablets before getting onto the flight.”
In an attempt to curb the use of party drugs at rave parties, ANC officials claim to have roped in college students as informers.
An official from the ANC said, “After systematic crackdown on the traditionally popular substances like brown sugar, ganja and charas, we are now focusing on targeting peddlers of psychotropic substances like LSD, Ecstasy and Methaqualone (a sedativehypnotic drug similar in effect to barbiturates) that we know are popular among revellers and circulated in rave parties in and around the city.”
He added: “Psychotropic substances are costlier than the traditional drugs, which is why they have become a status symbol among those who have the buying power. We suspect these drugs are mainly consumed at discotheques and pubs between Bandra and Oshiwara and some parts of south Mumbai. Private parties at bungalows and resorts at Gorai, Madh and Manori are also under the scanner.”
IPS officer Saji Mohan was caught by the ATS with a consignment of 12kg of heroin worth Rs 12 crore
The Narcotics Control Bureau arrested a suspended Punjab police officer, Jagdish Singh, along with three accomplices for possession of the popular party drug methamphetamine worth Rs 20 crore in the international market
In two separate raids in August, the Anti–Narcotics Cell claimed to have busted an inter–state drug racket with a seizure of 100 kg of charas valued at Rs 8.24 crore
Acting on a tip–off, the Anti Narcotics Cell found 1,240 kg of ganja worth Rs 25 lakh in a truck. The stash had been hid in gunny bags inside the cavity under the driver’s seat. On interrogation, the accused revealed that they had delivered another consignment of 1,800 kg of ganja around two months ago. Investigations led the ANC to a hideout at Bhoisar in Thane, where they seized 513 kg of the contraband
A 70–year–old woman from Bandra was arrested for alleged possession of 40 kg of ganja worth Rs 10 lakh
The Nigerian Connection
Mumbai: Every year, more and more Nigerian nationals are being arrested in Mumbai for peddling drugs, said a senior police official. According to police sources, they come to India with the intention of getting involved in the lucrative drug peddling trade. ``Once they land in Mumbai, they destroy their passports so that they cannot be deported even when their visa expires,” said the official, adding that they live in the outskirts of the city and supply cocaine, charas and heroin to patrons in pubs and discotheques in the western suburbs.
Source: Times of India