Who is Michael? Khar drugs trail brings Mumbai cops closer to elusive cocaine kingpin | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Who is Michael? Khar drugs trail brings Mumbai cops closer to elusive cocaine kingpin

Little is known about the man except that he purportedly hails from a West African nation

mumbai Updated: Dec 16, 2017 15:18 IST
Debasish Panigrahi
What has led the ANC sleuths to suspect Michael’s connection is the quality of the substance that they have seized.
What has led the ANC sleuths to suspect Michael’s connection is the quality of the substance that they have seized.

After trying to track him down for two years and having given up, the Mumbai police’s Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) have stumbled upon a drug trail, allegedly during the interrogation of recently arrested drug peddler Bakul Chanderia, that could lead them to ‘Michael’, Mumbai’s elusive cocaine kingpin.

Little is known about the man except that he purportedly hails from a West African nation. Nobody in the police force, or even among drug peddlers, knows his name – no surprises here, Michael is a pseudonym – or how he looks. All everyone in the ANC knows is that Michael is the dealer for high-quality cocaine in the city.

Sources in the ANC told HT that they had given up hope of catching him when he gave them the slip in April this year, after a honey trap was laid to capture him at a hotel in Nalasopara. “After that, he simply vanished from the city’s drug scene; there’s suspicion that he has shifted base to Goa,” said an ANC official, who was part of the team trying to track him down and did not want to be named.

Chanderia’s revelations about his source for high-quality cocaine and LSD dots, recovered from his Khar flat during the raid last week, have prompted the police to renew efforts to track down Michael.

Chanderia, believed to be a supplier to the film crowd and some big Bollywood stars, has allegedly told interrogators that he sourced his drugs — 106gm of cocaine and 90 LSD dots — from rave parties organised in north Goa. “For the past seven to eight months, Chanderia had been visiting Goa every fortnight to buy drugs from peddlers, mostly foreigners,” said the ANC official.

What has led the ANC sleuths to suspect Michael’s connection is the quality of the substance. “The cocaine recovered from Chanderia is ‘Ozi’, a high-quality cocaine that had pretty much disappeared from the local market after Michael went underground. He [Michael] had a monopoly on that trade in Mumbai and Goa,” said an official, adding that a team has now been sent to Goa to locate suspects who supposedly supplied the contraband to Chanderia.

The sleuths are not too optimistic, though. Even if the team sent to Goa succeeded in arresting the suppliers and establishing the supply chain further, it will be difficult to lay hands on Michael. “No one is sure even about his name,” the official said.

The name ‘Michael’ first cropped up two years ago after the ANC caught an African drug peddler from Worli with a consignment of what is colloquially called ‘Ozi’ for the first time. The peddler claimed he had procured the drug from his “brother” Michael. “Since then, we have arrested more than 30 foreign nationals for drug peddling, 20 of whom were selling ‘Ozi’. All of them claimed they were working for their “brother” Michael,” said a senior ANC official, requesting anonymity.

This April, the ANC arrested a commercial sex worker and peddler from Nalasopara, who claimed to be Michael’s lover. That’s when they tried to lay the honey trap, but failed. “Our attempts to draw a sketch of Michael also failed as she could not describe him properly. She said he would meet her in hotel rooms and kept the lights switched off,” the official said, adding that they don’t know how to identify the man.

Shivdeep Lande, deputy commissioner of police, ANC, refused to comment on the development. “Investigations are on,” he said.