A shortage of low-end drugs in their homeland is drawing foreign drug peddlers, especially from the African nations, to carry the high-end narcotics like cocaine into India and barter it for heroin from local operators, which they transport back.
Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) of Mumbai Police nabbed 33 such nationals from various African countries in 2006, Deputy Commissioner of Police (ANC) Dilip Srirao said in Mumbai.
According to an ANC official, cocaine - grown in South America - makes its way to Africa easily but the scarcity of other drugs, especially heroin, drives them to ferry the costlier cocaine to other countries and carry back heroin.
"They have strong contacts with local peddlers," said the official.
This revelation came a week after the ANC caught six African nationals with 54 grams of cocaine worth over Rs 1.5 lakh in the Indian market from South Mumbai ahead of New Year's Eve.
Apart from the 33 foreign nationals, the ANC has arrested a total of 1,350 people in connection with 381 cases registered with it last year and recovered drugs worth over Rs 1.20 crore in the Indian market, Srirao said.
The ANC has recovered 252 kg of cannabis, 414 kg of marijuana, 13 kg of heroin, 444 grams of cocaine, 20 grams of LSD and 27 grams of ecastacy tablets from Mumbai and adjoining areas in the last year.
Amongst the most talked about drives of the cell was the crackdown on a rave party in September that led to the arrest of over 100 youths and the busting of a gang involved in smuggling cannabis from Jammu and Kashmir to Mumbai.