A crack team of policemen raided a gang of about 25 drug peddlers at Wadi Bunder, Mazgaon, on Thursday night. The raid was planned after police commissioner Dattatray Padsalgikar received several complaints about drug peddlers in the area.
The police apprehended Nigerian nationals Infunanya Ginika Minke, 37, and Ique Chikwneni Emaniyal, 24, after a chase but the rest of the 25-odd peddlers managed to escape. The police also seized around 40 grams of cocaine, Rs 50,000 in cash and weighing machines (each the size of a smart phone).
The raid began at 11.45pm after 70 policemen, including 20 officers, arrived at the Wadi Bunder bridge in private vehicles. They moved in smaller groups to apprehend about 25 peddlers. On seeing the police, some of the peddlers began throwing stones and fleeing.
Others, however, assaulted the cops, and police inspector Santosh Bagwe was shoved to the ground. One of the peddlers tried to smash his face with a stone but was scared away when another officer fired three rounds in the air. Bagwe is undergoing treatment at JJ Hospital. Apart from him, police officers Ajay Sawant and Dashrat Vitkar and four constables also sustained injuries. Minke and Emaniyal were apprehended after a foot chase on the train tracks between Masjid and Byculla stations. Minke, the alleged kingpin of the cartel, was released from prison in 2015, an official said.
“We made elaborate plans. The officers who took part in the raid were handpicked from many units. We also identified a dilapidated four-storey structure in the area that belongs to the Mumbai Port Trust, where these people used to take shelter during raids by the local police,” said Atulchandra Kulkarni, joint commissioner of police (crime).
An official said that the peddlers would arrive at the spot in taxis to sell cocaine in half-gram or one-gram packets. Buyers would arrive on motorbikes and in cars, buy the drugs and leave quickly.
The official added that the peddlers would operate from two open grounds at P D’Mello road, but would shift to Wadi Bunder bridge – which gave them an easy escape route via the train tracks – during raids by the Dongri police.