The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) seized 68kg hashish (charas) worth around Rs 1 crore and arrested four persons, including two Kashmiris, for their involvement.
The drug was being brought into the city from Kashmir and was seized from APMC market at Vashi in Navi Mumbai on Saturday. It was concealed in a truck loaded with apples.
According to Yashodhan Wanage, zonal director of NCB, Mumbai, the drug was brought from Srinagar for distribution in Mumbai. It was concealed in a cavity made in the roof of the driver’s cabin of the truck bearing the registration number HR 55 A 7088.
The carriers — Tauseef Ahmed Khan, 20, a resident of Baramulla district, and Abdul Majid Dar, 50, the driver of the truck and resident of Sophian district — took six days to reach the city from Kashmir.
Wanage said that on receiving information, the NCB team laid a trap. Around 3.30pm, the truck reached the APMC market. The men were arrested after the Mumbai-based receivers — Chand Shajada Sayyed, 32, a resident of Dharavi, and Rehman Abdul Shaikh, 37 resident of Mahim — got into the truck to take the delivery.
However, finding the drug consignment was not an easy task. Wanage said it took almost four hours for the NCP officials to get any information from the accused. When the NCB team opened the roof of the driver’s cabin, they found 26 packets of hashish.
According to Wanage, the accused chose to load the truck with apples and the APMC market as the delivery point as it was easy to deliver the drug there. “The area has heavy traffic of trucks bringing fruits and vegetables. So, they thought it was easy for them to pass unnoticed,” he said.
Officials said the drug was concealed in the truck at Srinagar and then the vehicle was taken to Sophian in Kashmir where 593 boxes of apple were loaded into it.
“Sayyed and his assistant Shaikh were to store the drug at some place in Mumbai for further distribution,” said Wanage.
About payment to the carriers, Wanage said the two men were promised commission at the rate of Rs 3,000 per kg of hashish that was to be delivered.
The NCB is now searching for the leaders of the gang operating from Mumbai. Also, officials have alerted their counterparts in Kashmir to launch a hunt for the syndicate members based there.
This is the seventh hashish seizure by the NCB or other anti-narcotics agencies this year.
According to Wanage, the syndicates are sending the drug in small quantities so that the loss, if caught, is not big. The syndicates are in pressure as huge amount of money is stuck for delivery of drugs and hence they are making attempts to push hashish in Mumbai frequently, he said.
The NCB is also searching for the owner of the truck who could have more information about the syndicate.
All the four accused are in the NCB’s custody till November 22.