Four months after the Palghar police seized synthetic drugs worth Rs 40 crore from a farmhouse in Talasari, they arrested the alleged owner of the consignment in Bengaluru on Tuesday. In October last year, the local crime branch of the Palghar police had raided a farmhouse in Talasari town after being tipped-off about a large consignment of drugs stored there.
A search revealed 5.26 kg of heroin and 24.59 kg of the chemical substance isosafrole, which is used to manufacture the drug MDMA and valued at Rs 9 core, stuffed inside a Toyota Fortuner car. The raid came about after the police arrested Vasai residents Sohail Memon and Sarfaraz Memon for allegedly supplying 21 gms of ephedrine to a drug peddler, Nigerian national Uchhena Ukapabi, in Sepetmber last year.
The farmhouse, located in Dapchari village in Talasari, had been leased out by the state Dairy Development Department. The police had also found equipment and machinery used to synthesise chemical drugs inside the farmhouse.
Following the bust, the police had arrested Fayaz’s brother Riyaz Shaikh. However, with Fayaz only making phone calls using the Internet, the police said it was hard to pin down his location. Manjunath Singe, Superintendent of Police, Palghar, said that last year, the police had received information that Fayaz was staying at a hotel in Hyderabad. “By the time we could reach there, the accused had been tipped-off by a manager at the hotel and he fled,” Singe said.
Since December last year, the police had been focusing on Fayaz’s family in Bengaluru, and on Tuesday, located him and his accomplice Sajid Shaikh as they were travelling in a Hyundai Santro car. After a brief chase, they were apprehended when their car stopped at a traffic signal, Singe said. The men have been remanded in police custody for 15 days.
The police said that Fayaz had chosen to rent the farmhouse in Talasari due to its remote location and had been illegally manufacturing synthetic drugs there. The police suspect that the drugs were being supplied to peddlers in Mumbai, Thane and Navi Mumbai.
He was previously arrested by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in October 2010 after raids at chemical factories in Raigad district and Ankleshwar in Gujarat, leading to the seizure of 400 kg of ephedrine, then valued at Rs 70 crore.
He was again arrested by the NCB in Gujarat’s Bharuch city after a raid. However, he escaped from police custody after feigning illness, before being apprehended again in Bengaluru months later. In July 2014, the NCB arrested him from Hyderabad after the agency raided several chemical factories and units where ephedrine was illegally manufactured. 12 people, including Shaikh, were arrested and 200 kg of ephedrine, then worth Rs 10 crore, was seized.