The Mumbai Police has named fugitive drug supplier Kailash Rajput as the brain behind the attempted illegal export of 100 kg of the controlled substance 1-Phenethyl-4-Piperidone, the precursor to Fentanyl, worth Rs 1,000 crore to Mexico in December 2018. Rajput’s alleged links to the seizure were established after the police last week arrested a fifth man wanted in the case.
On September 11, the Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) of the Mumbai Police Crime Branch arrested Wasim Abrehani (44) in Deonar. ANC officials said that the Vasai resident has been exporting rice, coconuts and onions to Dubai for several years. Rajput is believed to be currently staying in Dubai after fleeing India in 2014 after being released on bail in Mumbai.
“Abrehani met Rajput in Dubai during his trips last year and was instructed to procure 1-Phenethyl-4-Piperidone and arrange for its export to Mexico, where it would be processed into Fentanyl tablets and sent to the USA,” said the official.
Fentanyl is a painkiller abused by hundreds of thousands of American citizens; its overdose has also been linked to deaths. Accordingly, Abrehani is alleged to have financed arrested Salim Dola to purchase the substance from Rajkot-based pharmaceutical company Sam Fine O Chem. Two other accused, Chandramani Tiwari and Sandeep Tiwari, picked up 100 kg of the substance, claimed the ANC.
The men were caught on the Western Express Highway in Vile Parle, close to the airport on December 26, 2018. Both had arrived in a car driven by Ghanshyam Saroj containing the contraband while Dola was waiting for them. Dola has a lengthy criminal history and has been working with international drugs cartels supplying heroin since the early 1990s, the police said.
Abrehani is accused of forging documents to create a company named Ortec India Trading House, which exists only on paper, said the ANC. The official added that on their export manifest the accused had mentioned that the contraband was ‘Organic Sacha Inchi Powder’, which is in fact extracted from the plant of the same name and is considered extremely rich in protein. The powder was to be sent to a company named Vesuvius Mexico SA de CV, based in Mexico City.
“The Mexican company manufactures paper products and had no connection with the substance that was to be sent to it,” said Special Public Prosecutor Suvidha Patil.
Shivdeep Lande, Deputy Commissioner of Police (ANC), said that Abrehani was produced in court on Monday and remanded to police custody for two days. The ANC also informed the court that it was formally investigating Rajput’s involvement in the case.
Both Abrehani and Rajput were investigated by the Mumbai Police after two men were arrested in Amboli in January 2018 with 13.5 kg of mephedrone valued at Rs 2.28 crore. Rajput is also wanted in connection with the 2017 arrest of Abu Aslam Azmi, the nephew of Samajwadi Party leader Abu Asim Azmi for allegedly attempting to courier 5 kg of the synthetic drug methamphetamine worth Rs 40 crore from Delhi to London. Abu Aslam was later released on bail the same year.
The Delhi Police Special Cell had suspected Rajput of putting Azmi in contact with a network of drug distributors and peddlers and of transporting the methamphetamine abroad through them.