Neemuch police have seized 17 kg of opium and over 60 kg of poppy husk, a poppy husk grinding machine, and arrested two persons in this connection on Monday. The consignment is worth over Rs 25 crore in the international market, police said.
The narcotic substance was seized from two different places - a vehicle in Nayagaon and a farm in village Richabaccha. To fool the police the smuggler, identified as Jaswant Singh, resident of Amritsar, Punjab had built a secret chamber on the roof of the SUV in which he was travelling.
Neemuch SP Manoj Kumar Singh said that they had received a tip off about the consignment so they stopped the SUV (A Qualis) HR-01-M-1199) at the Nayagaon check post. However, initially they could not find anything in the vehicle, however since the information was very reliable they thoroughly checked the vehicle and found the secret compartment that had been specially built to transport illegal substances. The opium was kept in two bags each weighing 5 kg and the poppy husk was in separate bags.
On questioning Jaswant said that he had purchased the opium from Vishal Patidar, resident of Richabaccha. Police raided his farm was seized seven kg opium and a poppy husk grinding machine. Both of them have been booked under relevant sections of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS Act).
The international value of opium is around Rs 1.5 crore per kg and poppy husk sells at Rs 5000 per kg in the retail market in Punjab where it is widely consumed.
Sources in the police said that even though smuggling takes place throughout the year, it picks up during this period when fresh opium is being taken out from the poppy plants.