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Drug syndicate busted: DRI seizes 238kg MD from factory near Mumbai, arrests four

Officials suspect that the drugs were to be smuggled to South Africa through Nepal

mumbai Updated: Mar 23, 2017 11:37 IST
Pratik Salunke
Pratik Salunke
Hindustan Times
mephedrone,hashish,drugs seizure
The mephedrone seized was in slurry form and is estimated to be worth around Rs10 crore in the international market.(HT Photo)

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) busted a well-oiled international drug racket by arresting four people, including two repeat offenders, after raiding a paint factory 90km from Mumbai on Monday.

In India, drug traffickers caught with a ‘commercial quantity’ of drugs may be awarded the death sentence.

The DRI, an apex intelligence organisation of Indian Customs, raided the Palghar Taluka Industrial Co-operative Estate situated on the Palghar-Boisar road. Officials seized 238kg of mephedrone in slurry form, along with 8.2kg hashish.

They suspect that the drugs were to be smuggled to South Africa through Nepal. The mephedrone seized is worth around Rs10 crore on the international market.

The agency arrested Bhanudas More, 53, the main suspect, along with Rauf Lulania, the manager, Pappu Chaudhary, 48, who allegedly got the raw materials, and Manish Sesaria, 30, a chemicals expert.

The owner of the paint factory where the drugs were manufactured was unaware of what his premises was being used for, said officials.

The accused told him they would make batches of chemical compounds and that each batch would take a week to prepare. He charged them Rs65,000 a batch.

The Palghar factory, from which the drugs were seized on Monday. (HT Photo)

Officials said More and Chaudhary had been convicted for drug-related offences in the past but continued to engage in illegal activities after their release.

“The network comprises More, who financed the deal, and Lulania, the middleman who negotiated with the owner. He also oversaw the manufacturing. Chaudhary got the raw material, and was to sell the drugs. Sesaria, a chemical expert, helped with the manufacturing process,” said a high-ranking DRI officer.

The accused were arrested under relevant sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985. They were remanded in judicial custody till April 3.

The gang of four operated out of a paint factory 90km from Mumbai. (HT Photo)

Choudhary, in his statement, said he had been involved in drug trafficking since 2001. He was convicted in a case booked by Moradabad customs and served 10 years in jail. He was arrested by Narcotics Control Bureau, Mumbai in a case related to the seizure of hashish in America. He said he met More in 2003. They re-established contact in 2014, and planned to manufacture ephedrine, a psychotropic substance.

Choudhary said he was also involved in smuggling at the Uttar Pradesh-Nepal border and was in touch with several drug dealers in Nepal.


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First Published: Mar 23, 2017 11:12 IST