September 28, 2021 8:24:41 pm
“Kitchen laboratories” used by foreign nationals to make drugs in their own houses are fast becoming a prime source of synthetic drugs supply in the city after narcotics supply took a hit, as per the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).
The central anti-drug agency said that with the neutralisation of 12 prominent local drug supply networks, several foreign nationals have filled the gap to supply narcotics. The agency is now focused on these foreign nationals who operate in a “guerrilla manner”, with around 28 of them arrested in raids in the past five months.
An official said that following the recent arrests of some Nigerian nationals, they found “digital evidence” that the narcotics being supplied by them was made at their own residence.
The official said that usually synthetic drugs like mephedrone and meth were made in factories on the outskirts of the city, and there have been raids against these laboratories and factories in the past few months by several agencies, which has hit the supply networks. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence last month busted a factory at Rasayani in Raigad, from where 256 kg of ketamine was seized.
“In some of these cases we have found drug suppliers sourcing these synthetic drugs from Gujarat, Indore or Hyderabad. Agencies have however been apprehending some of these drugs as well. Hence, several foreign nationals have started manufacturing drugs on a small scale at their own residences, in what is called ‘kitchen laboratories’,” the official said.
The official said that since these people are not trained in manufacturing the drugs, the product is more dangerous. The gangs usually have a chemist termed as a “doctor” who makes these drugs in factories.
The official said that in the past two years, a total of 12 gangs that comprised local drug supply chains were busted by the NCB. He said they neutralized the Iqbal Kaskar network, whereby narcotics were smuggled from across the border in J&K, the south-Mumbai based network of Chinku Pathan, Farooq Batata and his son Shadaab who controlled the western suburbs, Babloo Patri who controlled the eastern suburbs among others.
The official said that the gap in the drug supply network was filled by gangs of foreign nationals. Arresting foreign nationals is more complicated as they are more violent than local gangs, he said, and several NCB officials sustained injuries while carrying out raids. Foreign nationals also tear up their passports and do not reveal their home address, making it difficult to get further leads, the official added.
Officials said that in order to evade the NCB, foreign nationals supply narcotics to clients in moving vehicles, whereby both the peddler and purchaser move parallel to each other in two vehicles while exchanging drugs and money.
Further, the peddlers mainly operate from forested areas that have an escape route. The official said that a client has to come to the forest, and if the peddlers see any extra person they jump into the water and flee.
Over the past few years, they have settled in Mira-Bhayandar, Vasai-Virar and more recently Navimbai areas, the official added.
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