The Maharashtra Anti-Terrorism Squad on Sunday arrested a sixth accused in the 129-kg drug haul case, one of the biggest hauls in Mumbai and neighbouring districts.
On September 10, ATS arrested five persons — Naresh Maskar (28), Jitendra Parmar (45), Abdul Razzak Kadar Shaikh (47), Irfan Badar Shaikh (43), and Suleiman Jauhar Shaikh (28) — and seized Rs 1.4 crore cash and 129 kg of the drugs, valued at Rs 1.6 crore. Their interrogation had led the ATS to the sixth accused, Sardar Patil, a BSE graduate from Sangli, who allegedly helped the gang produce mephedrone.
“Patil had expertise in producing the drugs and he helped the group to manufacture mephedrone. A team was sent to his native and he was arrested on Sunday,” an officer said.
Police claim that Naresh and Jitendra ran a laboratory in Navi Mumbai, where the two men, along with some labourers whom they had hired, would produce the synthetic stimulant drug and hand it over to Abdul and Irfan.
“Abdul and Irfan were the first to be arrested in the case. The duo was on their way to deliver nine kilogram mephedrone to Shaikh when they were arrested from Bhandup,” an officer said. Suleiman, police said, would hide the mephedrone in a public toilet in Mahim, and sell them to distributors.
“They knew about Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and accordingly avoided keeping mephedrone in their possession. As per the Act, to be convicted under the law, it is important that drugs is recovered from the possession of an accused,” an official said. The official added that the distributors would mix ajinomoto or goods that looked similar to mephedrone before selling the drugs forward.
ATS officials said they were also investigating if the distributors paid school and college children to deliver drugs. “The five have told police that their distributors would place the drugs in their (students’) bags and give them an address for delivery. The students would be handed a minimal amount, along with the cost of transport. Soon after the arrest, all the distributors involved in the racket have escaped,” a police officer said.