International drug smuggling racket busted in Delhi, four held

The bureau said they recovered a total of 41,000 sedatives and painkiller tablets in strips and another 2.4 kilos of medicines in loose form

delhi Updated: Aug 20, 2018 04:16 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
International drug smuggling racket,Drugs,Delhi
The NCB said they recovered sedatives worth Rs 1 lakh.(HT Photo)

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Sunday arrested four people and claimed to have busted a drugs smuggling racket that involved the illegal supply of sedatives and painkillers from Delhi to foreign countries for use as recreational drugs.

The bureau said they recovered a total of 41,000 sedatives and painkiller tablets in strips and another 2.4 kilos of medicines in loose form. Some of these were recovered from a courier firm in west Delhi on Friday, hours before they were to be apparently dispatched to the USA and Canada.

Madho Singh, zonal director of NCB’s Delhi unit estimated the total worth of the recovered drugs in India to be around Rs 1 lakh. “The drugs were sold to consumers in foreign countries at 150 times its original price,”he said.

The officer said that the recovered drugs are not sold over the counter in India and could have only been obtained on prescription. However, the gang had roped in some chemists in the NCR to illegally supply these medicines to them. “The over-the-counter purchase of these drugs abroad is strictly regulated because of which there is a high demand from India,” said Singh.

The “elaborate” chain of the racket included a call centre based in Phillipines that connected buyers and sellers and facilitated payments. “The racketeers created firms that appeared to provide software solutions, but were actually being used to take payments,” said Singh. The racket was busted on Friday after the NCB received a tip off that drugs destined for the USA and Canada were lying at a courier office in west Delhi. “The sender had tried to mislead the courier firm and authorities by passing off the drugs as car headlamps and religious items,” said the officer.

A subsequent probe led the police to West Patel Nagar in central Delhi from where a man was found to be storing more of the sedatives and painkillers. The man was operating a website to receive the illicit foreign money as well, the bureau said. He was arrested and questioned, which led the NCB to three more people, including a chemist, a man who scouted for such chemists, and a middleman who passed on orders from the Phillipines call centre. They were all arrested.

Their interrogation allegedly revealed that they were supplying the drugs to countries such as the USA, Canada, England and Australia. They would also allegedly supply the drugs to Indian consumers in Lucknow, Patna, Varanasi and Mumbai. “To avoid screening at airports, they supplied small quantities of the drugs but did it frequently,” said Singh.

First Published: Aug 20, 2018 04:16 IST