A joint operation by a community-based volunteer organisation and Mizoram Police late on Monday night seized 50,000 tablets of methamphetamine with a street value of Rs 1.5 crores and arrested four men, including two Myanmar nationals.
The seizure (which took place around 11 pm) follows an earlier haul of 58,800 methamphetamine tablets with a street value of Rs 1.76 crores at Thingdawl, a large village 70 kms north of state capital Aizawl, on Friday. That seizure led to the arrest of two people.
Monday night’s methamphetamine haul is the third in a series of drug hauls over the past week: police had seized 14,000 tablets of the “party-drug” with a street value of Rs 42 lakhs and arrested two men, one of them a Myanmar national, in Aizawl on May 27.
In all, the three methamphetamine seizures over the past week total 1.22 lakh tablets with a street value of over Rs 3.68 crores.
Methamphetamine – which causes euphoria and exhilaration and instils a sense of well-being in users but which can lead to strokes and respiratory and heart failures – is part of a family of amphetamine-type stimulants (ATS) the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) says has emerged as the world’s second most abused narcotic after cannabis.
A senior police officer said the Supply Reduction Service, an anti-narcotics squad of just three dozen volunteers working under the central committee of the Young Mizo Association, Mizoram’s largest community-based organisation, played a key role in the two most recent seizures.
“They had identified and located the traffickers and dealt with them directly to lure them out before laying a trap with the help of police,” said the officer who was part of the seizure operations.
Monday night’s seizure took place after several of the volunteers posing as buyers drove some of the traffickers to Seling town, almost 40 kms east of Aizawl.
The traffickers then went on their own to a place where they hid the methamphetamine consignment and returned about two hours later with the drugs, according to one of the volunteers.
After that they drove west towards Aizawl (with other volunteers following them in a vehicle close behind “with the headlights off”, said another volunteer) where police and their volunteer colleagues waylaid them at Zemabawk neighbourhood, an eastern locality.
Those arrested include Lalremthanga (47) of Aizawl’s Zokhawsang locality, Lalropuia (54) of New Champhai town near the Indo-Myanmar border besides Thangdailova (32) and Lalthankhuma (31) of Tamu town in Myanmar’s Sagaing Division.
The other seizure (of 58,800 tablets on May 29) also involved SRS volunteers who drove to Thingdawl village in Kolasib district after receiving a tip-off that a methamphetamine consignment was being kept in a house there.
The operation led to the arrests of a 38-year-old woman named Malsawmtluangi (38) of Thingdawl village, in whose house the drugs were found and Samuel T T Thanga (35) of Kolasib town’s College Veng locality, the consignment’s owner.