Weeks after the seizure of mephedrone worth Rs 20 crore from Pimpri-Chinchwad, police have unearthed a major narcotic production and distribution ring connected to the drug. Investigation has revealed that drugs worth over Rs 130 crore were manufactured at a biotech unit in Ranjangaon and the ring was operated by an operative linked to Chhota Rajan gang and a Nigerian national, among others.
In the drug bust conducted on October 8, Pimpri-Chinchwad Police had seized a 20-kg consignment of the contraband substance Mephedrone, also known as Meow Meow, worth Rs 20 crore in the international market. Police had also arrested five persons in connection with the bust from a place near Chakan in Pune district.
Pimpri-Chinchwad Police Commissioner Krishna Prakash subsequently formed six different teams, headed by police inspectors and coordinated by DCP Sudhir Hiremath, to probe various aspects of the case like supply of material, manufacturing, and distribution of the contraband substance.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Krishna Prakash said, “After the first five arrests, we have arrested nine more people in connection with the case. Those arrested later include the kingpins of the racket Tushar Kale and Rakesh Khaniwadekar alias Rocky, both from Mumbai. Our probe till now suggests that Kale has links with the Chhota Rajan gang and Khaniwadekar is wanted by the Narcotics Control Bureau for other drug cases. The Nigerian national arrested by us has been looking after the bulk distribution of the manufactured contraband. During the probe, we initially zeroed in on a closed biotech unit in Ranjangaon industrial area of Pune district. We have arrested the people who ran the unit and also those who supplied chemicals.”
“Our investigation has revealed that the racketeers manufactured nearly 112 kg of Mephedrone, in addition to the 20 kg we have seized earlier. The total value of these drugs, believed to have been manufactured at the unit, would be over Rs 130 crore in the international market. We have recovered cash of Rs 85 lakh, frozen some bank accounts and also sealed the manufacturing unit. Now that we have arrested the main racketeers and bulk distributors, we are now looking for a network of smaller distributors who were part of the ring,” he added.
The Nigerian national, identified as Zubi Udoko, has been arrested earlier in cases of drug smuggling and has been found to be in possession of a forged visa, said officials.
The investigation teams are probing whether the same set of racketeers ran other drug manufacturing rings.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Sudhir Hiremath said that nearly 112 kg of Mephedrone, suspected to have been manufactured over the last one year, is believed to have been distributed and sold through the network. He said some more breakthroughs were expected in the case in the coming days.
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