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Drug menace: African peddlers pose a key challenge for Punjab police

Police in Jalandhar and Kapurthala have arrested 10 foreign nationals with heroin since Congress came to power last year.

punjab Updated: Jul 12, 2018 10:45 IST
Parampreet Singh Narula
Parampreet Singh Narula
Hindustan Times, Jalandhar
Drug menace,African peddlers,Punjab police
(Representative image)

Even as the Captain Amarinder Singh-led Congress government is claiming to have broken the drug supply chain in the state, the police are still struggling to tighten the noose around the growing syndicate of foreign nationals, especially African students, who are working as conduits from Delhi and continue to operate in the area.

The Jalandhar and Kapurthala police have arrested as many as 10 foreign nationals with heroin since the Captain government assumed power in March last year.

In the latest case, an African student, Maorahel, was arrested by the police on June 14 with 500gm heroin. The Rama Mandi police had arrested one Charles J Antony alias Pitta with 140 gm heroin on April 13 and Faith, a woman, was arrested by the Lohian police with 800gm heroin on January 21.

The state government, facing criticism from different quarters over a spate of drug overdose deaths in the state, has strictly asked the Punjab Police to crack down on drug peddlers and not to spare anybody found involved in the drug trade. The government has also ordered mandatory drug tests for all government employees, including police personnel.

According to the data procured since March 2017 , the commissionerate police have arrested six foreign nationals after recovering over 1.5kg heroin from them, while the Jalandhar rural police have nabbed two with 800gm heroin each, taking the total recovered drug quantity to over 3kg. The Kapurthala police have also arrested two foreign nationals with 10gm heroin and 35 gm intoxicants.

A senior police official said the accused are students or who had came here for business.

“Most of these (foreign nationals) had come here with the intention of smuggling drugs. They used to operate from New Delhi, which is being used as a transit point,” he said.

He said that there is no check on the arrival of foreign nationals and they are migrating here freely on the pretext of studying.

The quantity of heroin recovered from seven of the total 10 varies from 100gm to 800gm each, while in three cases the accused carried from 10gm to 60gm heroin.

Gurmit Singh, deputy commissioner of police-investigation (DCP) , when asked about any strategy to nab the foreign national conduits, said that there is no special strategy to nab them so far.

“The police act after we get any information or tip-off about any foreign national involved in the trade,” he said.

First Published: Jul 11, 2018 17:18 IST