If the sheer volume of drugs seized in the city is anything to go by, the city’s demand for the contrabrand substances could be changing, with higherend party drugs such as cocaine becoming increasingly popular, and the less expensive marijuana finding fewer takers.
The anti-narcotics cell (ANC) seized 790 grams of cocaine worth Rs47.25 lakh between January and April 31 this year, an alarming 309% rise from the 193 grams worth Rs8.32 lakh seized in 2012.
On the other hand, the demand from the more common marijuana dipped by 331%.
Cocaine is the preferred narcotic among elite users, with each gram of the banned drug costing anywhere between Rs3,000 and Rs7,000, depending on its grade. A packet of marijuana costs around Rs100, which makes it the most-peddled drug.
However, the large quantities of cocaine seized could also be attributed to greater official zeal to seek out peddlers.
“The policemen have been working hard to crack down on drugs being sold openly in the city, so the number of cocaine seizures has surged this year,” said D Kale, assistant commissioner of police (ANC).
On the other hand, the lower demand for marijuana could also be because large quantities of the drug were diverted to Gujarat between late 2012 and February 2013 as traffickers earned greater margins in there.
To add to this, the ANC seizing large quantities of marijuana has made Mumbai a dangerous destination for the cartel.
“As the police keep a close tab on drug peddling in the city, the smugglers prefer to stock large quantities in nearby cities such as Nashik, from where it is brought in Mumbai through outstation trains,” said an ANC officer requesting anonymity.
Seizures of another preferred drug, cannabis rose by 21%.
However, there was only a slight difference in the number of cases, with 11 registered and 16 people arrested this year as against 10 cases and 14 arrests in the same period last year.