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Man arrested in drug racket is murder convict from Canada

Ken Cuong Manh Nguyen fled from Canada to Vietnam in 2015, then came to India.

mumbai Updated: Jun 23, 2018 11:51 IST
Vijay Kumar Yadav
Vijay Kumar Yadav
Hindustan Times
One of the arrested accused, Ken Cuong Manh Nguyen.

One of the four foreign nationals arrested for allegedly manufacturing the date rape drug ketamine is a 38-year-old murder convict who was sentenced to life imprisonment for murder in Canada, the Directorate Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has revealed.

The convict, Ken Cuong Manh Nguyen, jumped parole and fled to Vietnam before arriving in India. He is wanted by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

The four foreign nationals are two British nationals and two Canadian nationals, including Nguyen.

A total of 11 people were arrested last week after DRI raided the factory in the tourist state of Goa where semi-finished ketamine was processed into pure form.

The syndicate would allegedly smuggle the drug to Canada, Vietnam and other countries from the Mumbai airport. The accused used to sneak Ketamine out of the airport by concealing it in tea bags and masala packets.

The Goa factory was owned by one Jimi Singh Sandhu, who was deported to India in 2015, and Nguyen was helping him process Ketamine. Sandhu is said to be a former gangster from the province of British Columbia (BC) in Canada.

Sources privy to the investigation said Nguyen was sentenced to life imprisonment for shooting dead a 19-year-old from a rival gang from a vehicle outside a nightclub in Vancouver, BC, in February in 1999. Later, the Parole Board of Canada allowed him to travel to Vietnam from April 2015 to May 2015. When Nguyen reneged on his promise to return to Canada, the police issued a nationwide warrant against him.

Nguyen told DRI interrogators that he had met Sandhu in Vietnam a few years ago when Sandhu was trying to import some sandalwood from India, said sources.

Sandhu with the help of Nguyen found some clients in Vietnam to whom he would sell Ketamine. The murder convict arrived in India earlier this year, on a Vietnamese passport, to guide Sandhu in processing Ketamine.

“He initially told us that he is a Vietnamese national, probably to hide his criminal past in Canada. Later, we learnt that he lived in Canada and has a dual citizenship,” a DRI official said.

In India, Nguyen is facing charges under the stringent Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDSP) Act and is lodged in Arthur Road Central Jail.

According to the Canada police, his family lives in Vancouver and girlfriend in Victoria, BC, where he had worked as a hairdresser.

First Published: Jun 23, 2018 11:00 IST