Excise misses drug case suspect by a whisker

The excise seems to have missed by a whisker the person suspected of having sent 2.50 kg of ganja hidden in a carton supposed to be sent as a parcel to Dubai.

The excise enforcement and narcotic special squad had seized the contraband hidden in small satchels in a carton containing rice powder, turmeric, and coriander powder from a courier firm in the city on November 24. It was originally sent from Kannur.

Though the copy of an Aadhaar card of the sender had led excise officials to the house of a 23-year-old in Kannur, he was found to have been away from home for months, giving them the impression that someone else could have got hold of the card and used it to send the consignment. But since then officials have retracted and now suspect the youngster himself might have couriered it. “The mobile tower location traced him the day after the seizure to Punnamada Lake in Alappuzha where he might have been engaged in boating. We rushed there around 4.30 p.m. though he had landed on the shore and left just an hour before. He was finally traced to near the Alappuzha KSRTC stand after which the mobile phone had been switched off,” said a senior excise official. Any chance of tracking him further depends on him switching on the phone again, which remains highly unlikely as he would be aware of his vulnerability in that case. Excise officials suspect him to be based in Kochi.

The local courier company staff seem to be familiar with him as he has reportedly sent couriers in successive months of late. Unfortunately, excise officials could not retrieve any CCTV footage as cameras in the neighbourhood of the courier company seem to have been unattended and not functional in the wake of the lockdown.

“He could have sent more such parcels to Dubai from more places. Besides, he is from an area in Kannur notorious for shady drug dealings. In the instant case, the address of the destination of the courier in Dubai in all likelihood could be fake,” said the official. Excise officials suspect that he could be part of a network cracking which would not be possible unless he is nabbed.

The excise now pins its hope on getting some throwaway leads from his call records although that looks remote.

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Printable version | Jan 24, 2021 8:34:25 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/excise-misses-drug-case-suspect-by-a-whisker/article33235412.ece

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