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HindustanTimes Fri,22 Aug 2014

Drug capital? Not yet

Abhishek Bhalla, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, September 26, 2007
First Published: 03:27 IST(26/9/2007) | Last Updated: 03:30 IST(26/9/2007)
The Delhi Police have registered 14 cases of cocaine peddling so far this year, up from last year’s seven, a jump of 50 per cent.

Still, the police say there exists no drug network in the city used primarily as a staging point by drug lords based outside the country to ship cocaine and heroin to Europe.

Over these two years, several foreigners have been arrested for peddling cocaine in the city, but the police say they are no drug lords, just small-time drug pushers or couriers under orders from syndicates based outside the country.

Cocaine-peddling

The drug, parceled from cocaine-growing countries like South America, Columbia, Peru and Bolivia, enters India through Mumbai, from where it travels to Delhi enroute to Europe, the police say.

Likening it to distribution losses while electricity travels from one point to another, the police say while most of the smuggled cocaine transiting India, including Delhi, reach its next destination, some of it is lost on the way, sold by couriers to local peddlers or rich customers in the hope of earning some extra money.

Describing the amount “lost on the way” as negligible, the police say it is this amount that is bought by customers, especially the city’s rich.

The upshot: there is no organised drug syndicate in the city, they say.

Air route preferred

Drug dealers prefer to fly the drug into and out of the country. “Since the quantity is less, flying it in and out doesn’t pose a problem. Instances when the drug was smuggled in shoe consignments, inside books and in boxes abound,” said a police officer.

Heroin-peddling

The police say heroin peddling is more common in the city compared to cocaine.

Heroin hauls have been on the rise in the capital in the last few years. This year, the police have already seized 70kg heroine, closing in on last year’s seizure of 77kg. Year 2004 recorded a very high seizure: 137kg.

Unlike cocaine where peddlers prefer the air route, the police say heroin is brought in from Afghanistan through Pakistan, Punjab, Jammu&Kashmir and Rajasthan by road before being sent to other cities.

A lot of this heroin is re-exported to Europe since there is a big market there and the Afghani heroin is considered of better quality.

Who are these peddlers?

The city’s distribution network is managed by low-income group people who previously sold illegal liquor. All the deals are sealed on the phone and are through-references only. Of late, the police have arrested many foreigners, Africans and Southeast Asians, on charges of drug trafficking. The Africans came here on student visas but overstayed their stay.
“Most are very poor and pushed drugs to earn some extra money. Some are more of victims than accused,” said a police officer.
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