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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

Mumbai’s Breaking Bad moment: One man who made the city’s most popular party drug

Bhanudas More, 54, who evaded authorities for years despite being arrested in 2001 and imprisoned till 2007, has a striking resemblance to chemistry teacher-turned-drugmaker Walter White, a fictional character in the popular television series Breaking Bad

mumbai Updated: Apr 19, 2017 11:16 IST
Manish Pathak and Pratik Salunke
Manish Pathak and Pratik Salunke
Hindustan Times
The equipment which was used to manufacture MD.
The equipment which was used to manufacture MD.(HT)

The kingpin of the gang that produced 238kg mephedrone and 8.2kg hashish at a factory in Palghar — before it was raided by the Directorate of Revenue Officials earlier this month — Bhanudas More, 54, evaded authorities for years despite being arrested in 2001 and imprisoned till 2007.

Described by authorities as ‘sharp’, More, alias Bhavesh Patel, dropped out of school after Class 10. A resident of Virar — a distant suburb of Mumbai — he did several odd jobs before being introduced to the world of drugs. He changed his name to avoid coming under the scanner of officials. However, his luck ran out when he was arrested in connection with the Palghar drug haul on March 20.

More has a striking resemblance to fictional chemistry teacher Walter White, a character in the Breaking Bad television series.

Officials identified him as one of the key men who made and sold mephedrone — Mumbai’s most sought-after party drug — in the commercial capital.

Interestingly, both Walter White’s and More’s lives were marked by afflictions — while White suffered from cancer, More suffers from a genetic defect known as Albinism.

It was during a raid by the Narcotics Control Bureau in February 2001 that More was finally arrested with 1,423.69kg mandrax — also known as methaqualone tablets. Once he was convicted and served his prison term, he returned to the narcotics trade. This time, he found the manufacturing of mephedrone profitable as it had become a vogue both in India and abroad.

More was cautious while executing his plans, said investigators. He decided to manufacture the drug in the midst of industrial units to avoid suspicion. An expert at making MD, More has been instrumental in teaching others to produce it too.

This came to light when the Maharashtra anti-terrorism squad (ATS) raided a flat in Oshiwara and arrested five people, including Sajid Electricwala, who the agency claims learned the trade from More. Now, as the ATS plans to take More into custody, it plans to investigate just how influential he was.

Police sources said More offered Electricwala the opportunity to become his business partner. He offered to train Electricwala in the art of manufacturing drugs, which were meant to sold abroad for large sums.

Electricwala agreed. Following this, More rented one of the Gujarat Industrial Development Corporation’s labs in Gurjarat using the name Bhavesh Patel. He trained Electricwala and two of his associates to manufacture mephedrone. The drug made by Electricwala was tested. When it was found to be up to the mark, More rented a 3 BHK flat in Oshiwara, identifying himself as Bhavesh Patel once more. There, he started chemical laboratory to manufacture MD. ATS sources said More would buy chemicals from Bhiwandi and other materials from Dawa Bazaar.

He supplied these to Electricwala, who manufactured the drug. Electricwala would market and supply drugs to London through flights from Mumbai.

During investigations, ATS officials visited More’s residence in Virar and recorded his family’s statements. But, they were unable to trace him then.

Electricwala, Ayub Lala Pathan and Sachin Bagul — who were arrested by the Mumbai ATS — were also wanted in a 2015 case, in which the DRI and the Pune customs department raided a factory at Sangli and seized 350kg mephedrone. It was one of the largest seizures of the lethal synthetic drug in the state since its official ban in February 2015.

Officials had been acting on the tip-off of a DRI official who stopped a Maruti Swift car in March 2015 near the Urse toll naka on the Mumbai-Pune Expressway and recovered around 50kg mephedrone from the car. A man identified as Nazir was arrested.


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

Palghar drug haul: Two were convicted in drug seizure cases

Palghar drug haul: Properties of four accused under DRI scanner

First Published: Mar 30, 2017 12:38 IST

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