New high: 32kg cannabis seized in Mumbai this year
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New high: 32kg cannabis seized in Mumbai this year

Officials are trying to stop drugs from the northern states entering the city

mumbai Updated: Mar 18, 2018 00:43 IST
Pratik Salunke
Pratik Salunke
Hindustan Times
In 2017, the seizure of cannabis dropped from 120.16 kg in 2016 to 60.5 kg. However, it has picked up again this year.(REPRESENTATIONAL PHOTO/SHUTTERSTOCK)

With 32 kilogram of seizure by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), cannabis, locally known as charas, emerged as the most smuggled drug in the city this year, with most of it coming from Jammu and Kashmir, followed by Himachal Pradesh.

After seizures in back-to-back cases this year, the agencies are trying to stop the narcotics trade from the northern states to the city. “Cannabis has been the highest seizure followed by methamphetamine, heroin and pseudoephedrine,” said a senior NCB officer. Cannabis is brought to the city via Delhi and Gujarat through rail, air and road, NCB officials said. Drug gangs send charas in smaller quantities in baggages on flights or with carriers travelling in railways.

Investigations revealed that multiple gangs are involved in discreetly sourcing the drugs, with multiple layers involved in the process. “Cannabis is brought to the city from where it is sent to Goa as well,” said the officer. “They have a bad effect on health such as cardiac problems and impair your cognitive thinking process.”

Investigations revealed that in order to avoid arrest, the contraband is supplied only to known persons. In 2017, the seizure of cannabis dropped from 120.16 kg in 2016 to 60.5 kg. However, it has picked up again this year.

The agency on Thursday arrested three persons with the high in demand Malana cream variety and seized a sports utility vehicle from them. The arrested accused were identified as Ravi Kumar, 38, Salim Khan, 33, and Anup Gupta, 29.

Officials said that while cocaine is regarded as the drug of the rich, marijuana is the drug of the poor. Charas, which is pricier than marijuana but not as expensive as cocaine, is used by anyone who can afford it. While India became a signatory to the Single Convention On Narcotic Drugs, an international treaty in which cannabis was categorised as ‘hard drugs’, in 1961, the drug was banned only in 1985 when the Narcotics and Psychotropic Substances Act was passed.

Last year, it was cocaine that topped the seizures. The NCB statistics revealed that 2017 saw a new high as nearly seven times more cocaine was seized in the city than the corresponding year.

The new challenge faced by the enforcement agencies is the involvement of international drug syndicates operating in the city. The NCB has arrested foreigners hailing from Kenya, Bolivia, Nigeria and South Africa.

Charas cases this month

March 10: NCB arrested three people, including a man from Kashmir, and seized 21.5kg of high-quality charas, worth Rs2 crore. One of the three accused had concealed the drugs in the specially-made cavity of a car and had driven it from Kashmir to supply it to a drug distributor in Mumbai. NCB officials of the Mumbai zone had received reliable information that one person would come to Mumbai in a hatchback to supply the drug to someone here. A trap was laid at Andheri, where the supplier was supposed to deliver drugs to two receivers. The car was intercepted and two people seated in the car were detained. On examining the car, NCB officials found that special cavities had been made to conceal the drugs. Around 19.5kg of charas was seized from the car.

March 3: Two Dongri residents, who were part of the interstate trafficking of charas, were arrested by NCB. The officials seized contraband weighing 1.080kg from the duo. Acting on a tip-off, the agency caught one of the accused from Mumbai airport on his arrival from Delhi. The accused managed to bypass the security check of the bag containing the contraband at the Delhi airport. While interrogating him, NCB officials found out details of his accomplice. He was arrested later. The seized charas was sourced from Himachal Pradesh and brought to Mumbai via Delhi via air. The drugs were hidden inside the checked-in luggage to avoid detention.

First Published: Mar 18, 2018 00:43 IST