In a swift predawn operation, sleuths of the Narcotics Control Bureau on Saturday arrested a Tanzanian national and seized 123 grams of cocaine, 10 grams of methaqualone, and 15 grams of heroin.

After months of intelligence gathering, a special team stormed into a hideout in Maduravoyal around 5 am on Saturday and apprehended Mark Hendry alias John. His associate, also a Tanzanian, and a customer managed to escape from the scene. Besides cocaine, a small weighing machine and several polythene covers were seized from the house, agency sources said.

Preliminary enquiries revealed that the suspect had sourced the contraband from a Mumbai-based African gang. A sample of the drug was sent for chemical analysis. “We have been following John for over six months now. He was actively engaged in supplying cocaine to youth parties. Customers or their agents paid Rs. 5,000 for one gram of cocaine,” NCB South Zonal Director Prem Anand Sinha told The Hindu.

Mr. Sinha said the suspect was also entertaining individual consumers in the city who met him at clubs or malls.

“We have details of some of his regular customers who will be examined. This is the largest seizure of cocaine in recent months. A couple of years ago, a Nigerian national was arrested with a similar quantity of cocaine in Chennai.”

Commissioner of Police S. George said the landlord of the house in Maduravoyal will be questioned as to why he did not share the details of the tenant with the local police. The city police had recently begun an exercise of collecting data of tenants from landlords. So far, around 1 lakh tenant particulars have been compiled. 

“The data will be computerised and maintained at the commissionerate. Any person failing to comply with the direction of police in sharing details of tenants will become liable for criminal prosecution,” Mr. George said.

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