The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) busted a major drug running syndicate and seized more then 330 kg of ephedrine after simultaneous raids in two factories in Maharashtra and Gujarat. Ephedrine is a banned substance, which is used as a party drug and stimulant.
Eight people have been arrested during the raids and they the NCB will have their custody till November 10.
Yashodhan Wanage, NCB zonal director (Mumbai), said value of the seized drugs stands at around Rs 5 crore in international markets. He added that the consignments were to be sent to Mexico and a few other countries. The consignments were recovered by teams of the NCB from factories at Mahad and Panoli in Ankleshwar.
“We raided M/s Raireshwar Organic Chemicals at Mahad and seized 93 kg of ephedrine and in a simultaneous raid carried out on M/s Mira Oraganics Private Limited at GIDC, Panoli, we seized 238 kg of the illegal consignment,” said Wanage, adding that a kilogram of the substance fetches anywhere between $ 3,500-4,000 in international markets.
According to Wanage, one Faiyaz Ahmed Rasoon Shaikh, 38, was running the syndicate. The NCB has arrested Santosh Chavan, 29, and Amit Kulkarni, 28, from Mahad, both of who are directors of Raireshwar Organic Chemicals.
The NCB sleuths also arrested owner of the factory at Panoli — Rasik Dalsania, 47 — along with other members of the syndicate — Hashim Rabuel Shaikh, 34, Syed Vaseerulla Pasha, 37, Umesh Pandya, 50, and Shabbir Babulal Saiyed, 24.
The drug syndicates usually hunt for chemical units that have shut down and then lure the owners to rent out the premises. The Panoli factory was shut for the last six months and Dalsania could have rented it to Faiyaz to make some money, said Wanage.
However, the NCB said that the process of manufacturing ephedrine at both factories was found to be different. “Usually, the manufacturers use molasses from sugar factories, but since the sale of that is controlled, these people have developed a new process where a chemical called Propiophenone is used as it is freely available in market,” said Wanage.
The usage of chemical also changes the name of the drug to synthetic ephedrine, added Wanage. The NCB had in July 2009 busted a similar racket, where the same manufacturing process was used make the drug.
According to Wanage, the syndicates use various routes to send these consignments abroad.
“Sometimes, they send them as parcels through couriers, on other occasions they mix it with legitimate material being sent abroad,” said Wanage, adding that a syndicate member named Anwar had learnt to make the ephedrine through the internet. “He died some time back and so investigations suffered a setback,” he said.