In one of the largest opium hauls by Delhi Police, 105 kilos of the drug worth Rs 20 crore was seized from five interstate drug peddlers during a two-day operation in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh’s Bareilly.
The seized drug, cultivated in the militancy-affected areas of Manipur, was smuggled into the Capital from Bareilly.
Police said the contraband was hidden inside special cavities in a modified Mahindra Bolero jeep. Interrogation of the narcotic smugglers revealed that during their journey from Manipur to Bareilly and then to Delhi, their jeep was checked at various police posts. But nobody could spot the cavities in which the drug was kept, the police said.
Those arrested, Nandram alias Master, 55, Mangli Ram, 32, Umesh Saini, 50, Rakesh Gupta, 50, and Chanderpal, 50, are all natives of Bareilly. Nandram and Mangli were arrested on Tuesday with the Bolero jeep from which 105 kgs of opium were recovered. Raids conducted in Bareilly led to the arrest of the other three. This is the second such seizure of opium by the special cell within a fortnight. In the previous operation, five drug smugglers were arrested with 69 kg of opium.
Sanjeev Kumar Yadav, DCP (special cell), said their investigation into the drug trafficking trends and interrogation of arrested accused revealed that militancy-affected areas in Manipur have became a hub for illegal cultivation of opium.
“Opium cultivated in such areas has become very popular in Bareilly, Badaun, Barabanki,etc. in UP due to its low cost. The opium from Manipur is available in just half the rate compared to that coming from other areas. For the last two years, large consignments of opium are being brought from Manipur by drug smugglers, which are then sent to Delhi-NCR and other adjoining states for supply,” said Yadav.
Police officers believe that Delhi-NCR has become a preferred location for drug suppliers from Bareilly due to its central location and proximity to main market of these drugs i.e. Punjab. “A part of this opium is also converted into heroin by these drug suppliers and sent to Delhi, Punjab and other parts of country,” said Yadav.
A postgraduate in zoology, Nandram told investigators that they were plying the illegal trade for the past 20 years. The opium was seized from Jagannath, a notorious drug dealer in Churachandpur district of Manipur. The gang had been buying opium from Jagannath for the last two years.
The five accused contributed money to buy the car and got the jeep modified to create secret cavities in the roof and back of its rear seat. They had kept 105 packets of opium, each weighing 1 kg, in secret cavities and brought them to Bareilly from Manipur.
“Efforts are on to nab other members of the cartel,” Yadav said.