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US student visa, bitcoins, darknet: Here’s how 5 men fooled airport scanners, smuggled LSD worth ₹70 lakh into Mumbai

As LSD blot papers look like stamps, officials operating the scanning machines at the Mumbai airport did not find anything amiss

mumbai Updated: May 06, 2017 10:37 IST
Jayprakash S Naidu
Jayprakash S Naidu
Hindustan Times
bitcoin,US student visa,LSD
The gang used this technique to smuggle LSD into the country five to six times, said officials.(Photo for representation)

A US student visa, some bitcoins and the darknet — a combination of these helped five men smuggle lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) drug worth Rs70 lakh into India from Europe multiple times, said officials from the anti-narcotics cell (ANC).

In March, police arrested Arbaaz Taj Mohammad Khan, 20; Farhan Ali Khan, 26; Admay Samir Modi, 22; Chirag Jain, 24; and Laxman alias Nikhil Rajan, 24, for supplying LSD to college students at pubs and rave parties. Acting on a tip-off, the ANC’s Kandivli unit nabbed the five near Infinity Mall in Malad (East). Police found 1,400 LSD blot papers, each costing Rs5,000, in their pockets. They were held under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985.

Arbaaz, the main accused, is an FYMBS student from Lokhandwala, while his cousin Farhan lives in Andheri and works in the real estate and car dealership sectors. Admay is from Charkop and works as an associate producer with a TV channel. Chirag is an Andheri resident and TYBCom student, while Laxman has done his BSC in information technology and hardware from an engineering college in Mulund.

Arbaaz hired the four men and paid them a commission of Rs1, 000 to Rs2,000 a blot paper.

The consignment was sent to Mumbai by Arbaaz’s friend, who is the US on a student visa, said officials. He ordered the LSD from a European country and paid his supplier in bitcoins - a virtual currency. He then couriered the drugs to India. As LSD blot papers look like stamps, officials operating the scanning machines at the Mumbai airport did not find anything amiss.

The gang asked Arbaaz’s friend to send them LSD using this modus operandi five to six times. They used the darknet to communicate with smugglers to avoid detection, said an ANC source. The darknet is a form of online communication, in which specific tools help users avoid being traced by the authorities. It is used by criminals to discuss arms and drugs deals.

First Published: May 05, 2017 10:23 IST