NCB busts darknet LSD cartel in NCR; three held | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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NCB busts darknet LSD cartel in NCR; three held

By, New Delhi
Aug 02, 2023 02:15 AM IST

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has arrested three people and seized over 13,000 blots of LSD.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Tuesday arrested three people as it busted a pan-India LSD drug cartel being operated from the national Capital region, and seized at least 13,863 blots of the hallucinogenic drug, the agency said.

The LSD blots, disguised as stickers, recovered by NCB. (HT)
The LSD blots, disguised as stickers, recovered by NCB. (HT)

The cartel named Zambada, after fugitive Mexican drug runner Ismael Zambada Garcia, is the only Indian LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) cartel on the darknet and rated “five stars” by traffickers and consumers, an NCB official said.

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The agency busted the cartel following its ongoing investigation into a different cartel that was busted two months ago. On June 6, NCB arrested six people and seized 14,962 blots of Gamma Goblin variety of LSD — the highest seizure of the drug by any police or federal agency in India.

The 13,863 blots recovered by the agency on Tuesday were sourced from a darknet operator, Dr Seuss alias TS (Tribe Seuss). Officials said Tribe Seuss manufactures LSD blots and manages outlets in the US, South Africa and Canada. These seized LSD blots were sent from South Africa.

“In continued operations we learnt about this largest cartel (Zambada) operating in LSD from Delhi-NCR region. Some members were in touch with the cartel (Gamma Goblin) we busted in June,” NCB deputy director general, Gyaneshwar Singh said. “Two ground operators of this cartel were identified. They were put under watch by NCB teams which led to the location of mastermind in Ballabhgarh (Haryana). Multiple raids were conducted at the premises of these persons, which led to the further seizure of 13,863 LSD blots, 428gm MDMA [commonly known as ecstasy].”

The agency did not put a value on the worth of the seized LSD blots.

The kingpin of this cartel is a 23-year-old Delhi resident, a certified web developer, who quit his corporate job three years ago and shifted to Ballabhgarh, the officer said.

“He had carefully chosen Ballabhgarh as his base to ensure he was away from the national Capital,” Singh said. “This cartel was active for the last two years. He was careful in smuggling the LSD blots and did not repeat the smuggling route twice.”

The kingpin, Singh said, who earned at least 2-5 lakh every week, aspired to be a drug lord like Zambada and had named his cartel after the fugitive drug lord. “The Zambada cartel intended to maintain a minimum stock of 100,000 LSD blots,” Singh added.

The drug cartels operating on the darknet, an intricate and encrypted array of online networks, are rated on a scale of “one star to five star” based on the potency of the drug sold and their customer service. The cartel comprised young educated men between 21 and 25 years.

“Easy money and the anonymity of darknet operations led these young men into drug dealing. Various web series on OTT platforms inspired their mode of operations. They named this cartel after Ismael- Marlo Zambada Garcia who is a Mexican drug lord and is the last remaining fugitive of the list of Mexico’s 37 most wanted drug lords and carries a reward up to $15 million,” said NCB’s Delhi zonal director Gyanendra Singh.

The zonal director said that since April 19, NCB has filed six cases related to LSD smuggling and arrested at least 22 people. “This cartel collected proceeds of drugs in various crypto currencies and then transferred it across various layers of crypto currencies to finally received the money in their bank account,” the zonal director added. Meanwhile, Union minister Amit Shah took to Twitter and shared that in a clampdown against the narcotics trade, 22 arrests were made in last three months. “... the NCB busted 2 international drug cartels operating through the darknet and arrested 22 individuals with a huge cache of 29,103 blots of deadly LSD in the last 3 months,” he tweeted.

LSD is a difficult drug for police and enforcement agencies to detect because it comes in the size of a common postal stamp and can be easily concealed. Each LSD blot costs around 4,000- 8,000 depending on the quality of paper, its thickness and brand name.

NCB said LSD is a potent hallucinogenic drug, without any colour, taste or smell. It is painted or dipped into stamps and licked or swallowed by users. It affects judgement and behaviour, it is extremely harmful and has become popular in India over the years, especially among the youth and students, according to the agency.

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