TN politician, film producer kingpin of drug racket: Investigators | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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TN politician, film producer kingpin of drug racket: Investigators

Feb 27, 2024 11:28 AM IST

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Saturday last said that the cartel was busted on February 15 after a four-month-long joint probe with the Delhi Police

The alleged kingpin of the 2000 crore drug trafficking racket busted this month is a Tamil Nadu politician, who is also a prominent film producer, officials aware of the matter said. Three members of the cartel have been arrested even as the kingpin remains on the run. Investigators suspect the kingpin, who has produced four movies, may have laundered drug money to finance them.

Three men were caught while packing around 50kg of pseudoephedrine. (ANI)
Three men were caught while packing around 50kg of pseudoephedrine. (ANI)

“A fifth film that the man produced will be released next month. It looks like he was using drug money, and the movie business was a front to launder money. It will be clear once he is arrested,” an officer aware of the matter said.

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The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Saturday last said that the cartel was busted on February 15 after a four-month-long joint probe with the Delhi Police. The agency said it acted on a tip-off from New Zealand and Australia about pseudoephedrine being sent to these countries from India under the guise of food products. Three men from Tamil Nadu were subsequently caught from a warehouse in West Delhi’s Basai Darapur. The cartel allegedly used air and ship cargo for smuggling.

NCB deputy director general Gyaneshwar Singh on Saturday said New Zealand customs and Australian police informed them that pseudoephedrine concealed in desiccated coconut powder was being sent to these countries. “Further inputs from the US DEA [Drug Enforcement Administration] indicated that the source of the consignments was Delhi.”

The three men were caught while packing around 50kg of pseudoephedrine in a health supplement packet. Investigators cited the probe so far and said the cartel sent 45 consignments containing approximately 3500kg of pseudoephedrine worth over 2000 crore in the international market over the last three years.

A second officer, who asked not to be named, said the producer-politician was in touch with a cartel in Australia and New Zealand, who gave orders for pseudoephedrine. “We are probing if he has more warehouses such as the one in West Delhi. He also roped in people from Tamil Nadu to work for the cartel. We have information that he has been active in this drug trade for the last few years and has successfully smuggled the drug outside India through different routes.”

The officer said the cartel took advantage of the high demand for methamphetamine, especially in Australia.

This month, the NCB busted a laboratory in Ludhiana, where three Mexican nationals were hired to prepare methamphetamine. The three were flown to India in November 2023 for their expertise in making methamphetamine with almost 90% purity.

Pseudoephedrine is a precursor chemical used in the manufacture of methamphetamine, a dangerous and highly addictive synthetic drug. It is classified as a controlled substance in India, which means there is strict regulation on its production, possession, trade, export, and use.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR
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    Prawesh Lama covers crime, policing, and issues of security in Delhi. Raised in Darjeeling, educated in Mumbai, he also looks at special features on social welfare in the National Capital.

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