Two persons in Esplanade lodge were found in possession of the narcotic substance

The city police seized five kilograms of ketamine worth Rs. 60 lakh in the international market and arrested two persons from a lodge in Esplanade in north Chennai on Tuesday morning.

The discovery was made during a routine check ahead of Independence Day celebrations.

Following orders from the city police commissioner S. George to intensify raids in hotels and lodges, as well as vehicle checks, the Esplanade police under the High Court police limits had started checking all the lodges in the locality over the past three days.

According to the police, sub-inspector Suresh of the Esplanade police station received information that suspicious persons were staying in a lodge on Umberson Street. “For two days, he visited the lodge, but the room in which the suspects were staying was locked,” said a senior police officer.

On Tuesday, Suresh visited the lodge again and nabbed the two persons. A team led by the sub-inspector checked baggage belonging to the suspects and found five packets of ketamine wrapped in polythene bags.

During interrogation, the suspects were identified as Sheikh Mohammed (26) and his aide, Haja (46), both from Thondi in Ramanathapuram District. They had been staying in the city for the past three days. “From here, they were travelling to other districts. This is the reason why the police could not nab them earlier,” said the officer.

Interrogation revealed they had purchased the narcotic substance from Madhya Pradesh. “They were planning to send it to places like Singapore and Sri Lanka. But the person who had agreed to purchase it from them had not collected it from the duo. Usually, ketamine is not seized in the city,” said the officer.

The two men were arrested. “Narcotic intelligence agencies may take over the case soon. But as of now we are interrogating them,” said the officer.

A good number of pharmaceutical industries involved in the manufacture of ketamine, a veterinary anaesthesia, in Maharashtra and Gujarat, have been found to illegally sell portions to smugglers. Ketamine is usually sold in powder form.

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