Updated: October 30, 2021 8:33:38 am
Over the last three days, the police in Telangana’s Hyderabad, Cyberabad, and Rachakonda Commissionerates have arrested more than 50 alleged drug peddlers, transporters and dealers as part of an extensive drive against the marijuana trade.
In Hyderabad, the police are checking the phones of suspected peddlers and users to look for contacts in an alleged marijuana smuggling ring, officials said. They began doing this after arresting an alleged inter-state marijuana smuggler, Vanapalli Naga Sai, and finding a Whatsapp group in his phone made up of agents, peddlers and suppliers, both local and from different states. The police had seized 40 kg of marijuana from him and found bulk orders for 100 kg or more in that Whatsapp group.
The Hyderabad police are also conducting raids at bus stations and suspected dens of peddlers, rounding up dozens of suspects.
While the Hyderabad City Police has formed teams tasked with going after peddlers, the Cyberabad Police has formed a Narcotics, Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act enforcement cell.
On October 27-28, the Cyberabad Police NDPS cell arrested 17 alleged drug smugglers and sellers and seized 11 kgs of ganja. “Sellers, drug transporters, and buyers are on the police radar. The state government has adopted a policy of zero tolerance towards offenders,” said Director General of Police M Mahender Reddy.
Cyberabad Police officials said their Narcotics Control Cell will mainly focus on developing preventive strategies, identification of hotspots where marijuana and other drugs are being sold and take action accordingly. The cell will also take up programmes seeking support of all communities in rural as well as urban areas by community policing in stopping the cultivation of ganja.
Explaining the modus operandi of the marijuana smugglers and sellers operating in Hyderabad and surrounding areas, officials said they contact ganja cultivators at the Andhra-Odisha border in Visakhapatnam’s Araku Valley region, and purchase from them for Rs 1,500 per kg. It is then transported by road via Vijayawada to Hyderabad where it is sold to traders for Rs 5,000-10,000 per kg. Most of the peddlers who purchase in bulk from Andhra have contacts all over Telangana, Maharashtra, Gujarat and UP. The drivers of the vehicles used to transport the marijuana also pilfer small quantities and sell it to peddlers.
A separate narcotics control cell is being set up in Rachakonda Police Commissionerate which covers a large area surrounding Hyderabad district. Police Commissioner Mahesh Bhagwat said that in the early hours of Friday, a special operations team seized 110 kg of marijuana from two suppliers hailing from Rajasthan. “We are forming a narcotics cell to check smuggling. A programme on awareness against drugs and deaddiction, ‘Naya Savera’, was also launched,’’ Bhagwat said.
The police launched the drive after Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao expressed concern over the alleged smuggling of narcotic drugs through the state and drug abuse.
In a meeting on October 20, Rao had said: “One can assess the situation based on the reports that the estranged youth are forming WhatsApp groups, exchanging messages and taking drugs. Innocent youth are becoming prey to the drug peddlers. Eradicate the ganja mafia and don’t spare the criminals whoever they may be.’’
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