Devesh K. Pandey

They gain entry into the country mostly on student visas

NEW DELHI: The Delhi police have picked up a man of African origin on suspicion that he sold cocaine to the young men who allegedly supplied it to the late Pramod Mahajan's personal secretary Bibek Moitra on Thursday night. This is not the first time persons from Africa have been found dealing in "party drugs" in the capital.

Over the years, the Narcotics Control Bureau has noticed a gradual increase in cocaine consumption in Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore and even Goa, where late night and "rave" parties are becoming a routine in high society. The consignments are smuggled into the country mostly by Nigerian nationals, most of whom have set up base here. They shuttle between Mumbai, Bangalore and other cities to cater to rich clients and often live as paying guests. Enforcement agencies have found that the "stuff" is smuggled into India from a number of Latin American countries through entry points in Delhi and Mumbai. The carriers either swallow capsules containing cocaine or hide it in the rectum to evade detection. They gain entry into the country mostly on student visas.

They procure highly concentrated cocaine in Latin America at about Rs. 300 per gram and sell it in India at about Rs. 4,000 per gram, even after diluting its purity by mixing edible ingredients. The suppliers usually carry small quantities of cocaine with them so that even if they are caught, they cannot be booked for possession for commercial purposes, which involve harsher punishment.

As the demand for high quality heroin manufactured in Afghanistan which is smuggled into India via the Indo-Pakistan border has increased in America and some European countries in the recent past, interestingly, enforcement agencies have noticed, several cocaine dealers have discarded the old modus operandi of procuring heroin consignments against monetary payments, by taking heroin in exchange for cocaine.