Busting a multi-state cartel in an operation spanning over three days in two cities ––– Hyderabad and Mumbai, the officers of Directorate of Revenue Intelligence(DRI) have seized narcotic substances worth Rs 47 crore and raw material for another Rs 50 crore-worth drugs.
The seizure comprises 210 kg of Mephedrone, 10 kg of Ketamine, 31 kg of Ephedrine, and also the raw material to manufacture another 250kg of Mephedrone. The DRI officials also seized Rs 45 lakh net cash in Indian currency, US Dollars, and EUROs, said a statement from DRI’s Hyderabad zonal unit.
While the mastermind behind the illegal manufacturing was arrested in Hyderabad, two others were arrested from Mumbai. The main accused is a repeat offender, earlier arrested by DRI in 2017 under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985, and was out on bail since 2018.
According to a press note undersigned Additional D-G, DRI, “The syndicate had a well-established chain of supply both within and outside the country. The payment for the raw material and finished products took place through Hawala channels.”
He has been in the business of manufacture and supply of drugs, the official said. “We have seized a lot of raw material which, in another two days, would have become Mephedrone. The value of that once it becomes finished drugs would have yielded Rs 50 crore in the grey market.” The first consignment sent to Mumbai was recovered and the rest of the stock was seized.
Popularly known as ‘bath salt’, ‘Meow Meow’, etc, Mephedrone is a psychoactive drug similar to ecstasy or MDMA. It is a synthetic stimulant drug generally abused for recreation and is popular among the urban college-going crowd.
Ketamine, known as Kit Kat, is another popularly used recreational party and date rape drug, which leaves the user with a sense of euphoria or a feeling of disconnect from the self. Whereas, Ephedrine is a highly sought-after chemical precursor in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine.
On August 15, acting on a tip-off, the officers raided a manufacturing unit on the outskirts of Hyderabad. This led to the seizure of 142.6 kg of Mephedrone (approximately valued at 28.52 cr) and 31 kg of Ephedrine (approximately valued at Rs 3.1 cr). In the factory, the raw material for the manufacture of Mephedrone of around 250 Kgs (worth Rs. 50 Crores) was also seized.
These drugs, according to DRI, were meant for supply to various cities, and one such consignment outbound was intercepted in Mumbai. According to DRI, the Mephedrone consignment was loaded in a passenger bus as cargo, and had no one accompanying it, to ensure that even if the consignment was caught, no individuals could be linked to it.
After identifying the recipients of the consignment in Mumbai, a follow-up raid at their drug manufacturing laboratory in a residential area led to further recovery of Mephedrone and Ketamine ready for distribution. This was in addition to “samples of other psychotropic substances, clearly indicating a sophisticated distribution network both within the country and abroad.”
“It appears the drugs were meant for domestic consumption. More people in other states, too, could be involved. We are also investigating who is spending the money and how is the money coming in,” the official added.
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