The 34-year-old man caught in Chembur on Monday allegedly transporting 10 kg mephedrone in his car is a trader in medical drugs who was previously employed with a pharmaceutical firm. The accused, Pravin Waghela, a resident of Kherwadi, Bandra East, has been remanded to police custody until January 16. Waghela was caught as he pulled up in a Honda Civic car at a bus stop on a service road by the Santacruz-Chembur Link Road, where the Ghatkopar unit of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch’s Anti Narcotic Cell (ANC) was lying in wait on Monday. The police found that he had allegedly concealed the drugs inside a gunny bag.
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“We had placed the accused under surveillance for several days before laying a trap. He had cleverly concealed the gunny bag inside his car,” said Inspector Santosh Bhalekar.
Bhalekar added that until nine years ago, Waghela had been employed as a marketing representative with a pharmaceutical firm in Mumbai.
“He quit to become a trader of painkillers and cancer medicines,” said Bhalekar. The police said that Waghela had been purchasing medicines directly from manufacturers and selling them to small distributors.
“For at least the last six months, the accused had also been peddling mephedrone,” added Bhalekar. The Anti Narcotic Cell has begun probing where Waghela had allegedly been sourcing mephedropne from and who his customers were.
“We are probing whether the accused had been purchasing mephedrone directly or synthesising it using ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine,” said Bhalekar.
The ANC said that it would also probe whether any of Waghela’s family members are involved in the drugs trade. Bhalekar said that Waghela’s older brother works at the Maharashtra government’s headquarters at Mantralaya.
“We will also scan the finances of the accused to understand how much money he made selling mephedrone,” he said.