Increasing cases of home-grown drugs keeps state police on toes
On September 17, 2021, the central crime branch of the Bengaluru police had raided a drug manufacturing unit in Bengaluru and seized 4kg MDMA, a psychoactive drug. The gang used to hide ‘home manufactured drugs’ by storing them in a hidden compartment in custom-made shoes. They accused to sell these drugs across the city and in New Zealand as well.
Days later, on September 26, 20211, in another major drug haul, police arrested two Iranian drug peddlers, who used to grow hydro cannabis inside a rented house, and seized drugs worth ₹1 crore from them. During the interrogation, the accused confessed that they brought the cannabis seeds via a darknet and were growing it in a villa near Bidadi on the outskirts of the Bengaluru city.
The latest case in the series of home-grown drugs was reported on January 10, when a Nigerian national was arrested by the Central Crime Branch (CCB) for manufacturing and peddling synthetic drug MDMA from his rented accommodation at Tarabanahalli village on Hesaraghatta Road, North Bengaluru. The accused had learnt to make the synthetic drugs using the information available on the internet. “They had modified a pressure cooker using an iron pipe to manufacture the drugs. They used to buy raw materials like sodium hydroxide and acid from Mumbai,” said the officer.
For Bengaluru police, who have been launching a crackdown on the drug trade in the city, these homemade drugs are posing a new challenge. Police officials, who had until recently changed their focus on catching the kingpins of the trade and targeting the source of the supply from outside the state, now have to keep a tab on drugs being manufactured within the city.
A senior CCB official said that the recent arrests are only the tip of the icebergs. “Now, drug manufacturing has become an accessible trade. We have been witnessing this trend of accused taking rented houses on the city outskirts and cooking drugs. We have to focus on these activities more,” the officer added.
He, however, added that Bengaluru police’s track record in the past two years in nabbing drugs peddlers has given the department enough confidence to deal with the new challenge as well.
In 2021, the Bengaluru police arrested 5,644 drug peddlers in 4,275 cases and seized drugs worth around ₹59 crores. In comparison, 2,766 cases were registered with 3,673 arrests in 2020. The figure was at 768 cases and 1,260 arrests in 2019.
According to official data, of the 4,475 cases registered in 2021, 4,275 cases were related to the seizure of marijuana, followed by 103 cases of MDMA, 39 cases of synthetic drugs and other narcotic substances ecstasy, hashish and LSD.
Total 3,641.756kg drugs worth ₹592,775,690 were seized in 2021 against 3,912.826kg drugs worth ₹213,856,550 in 2020, and 1053.188kg drugs worth ₹34,686,700 in 2019.
In 2021, 173 foreign nationals were arrested and 137 cases were registered, of which 105 accused were Nigerian nationals. In 2019, 38 foreign nationals were arrested and 33 cases were registered; and in 2020, 84 foreigners were arrested with 66 cases being registered against them.
According to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), in 2020, Bengaluru had reported the highest number of cases related to narcotics in the country.