The anti-narcotics cell (ANC) officials busted an international drug smuggling racket on Saturday. They arrested a Nigerian national and seized 2.5kg of ephedrine worth nearly Rs 2 lakh in international market.
The 28-year-old was about to ship the drugs to an African country by concealing them in 11 bicycle seats in a carton.
The arrested accused has been identified as Alozie Lambert Chinenye. Sources said Mumbai police commissioner Rakesh Maria recently received information that a Nigerian national is planning to send drugs to South Africa. He pressed officials from ANC, Worli unit, into action.
The officials traced the courier firm through which the accused was planning to send the contraband. He was in talks with Salam Paras Exim Courier, which has its office in Dongri. The police approached the courier firm and took its owner into confidence after explaining him about their operation.
“A trap was then laid on Friday and Chinenye was arrested with ephedrine worth around Rs 2 lakh concealed in 11 bicycle seats in a carton,” said an officer from Worli ANC unit.
Chinenye has been booked under relevant sections of the Narcotics Drug and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act and was remanded to police custody till November 18 by a local court.
Earlier, in September the Worli ANC arrested Avhilprakash Montero, 34, and courier firm employee Naresh Patil, 36, with two cartons, each containing 17 bathroom towels which had been soaked with ephedrine. The duo had told the police that Nooruddin Bashir Patel, 45, a Colaba resident, who deals in ephedrine, had given them the consignment, which was meant to be couriered to Philippines.
Identifying courier service as a common way of smuggling drugs, Mumbai police chief has asked all the units of the ANC to actively develop contacts with courier firms to curb drug smuggling.
Ephedrine is a white powder used in medicines to treat asthma. It is also abused as a stimulant, appetite suppressant and can give the same effects as cocaine. Dual-use ephedrine is sometimes diverted by criminals for recreational use.
A controlled substance under the NDPS Act, ephedrine is used as raw material for amphetamine type stimulant (ATS), a recreational drug which is popular in party circuits in Malaysia, Singapore, China, Japan and Indonesia.