Four held with 721 LSD stamps

In a major operation, the District Anti-Narcotic Special Task Force (DANSAF) has arrested four persons with 721 LSD stamps, 1.08 grams of hashish, 20 grams of ganja, and ₹8.04 lakh in a special drive conducted in connection with the impending Assembly election.

All the arrested were residents of Ernakulam, and Nevin Augustine, 28, of Vaduthala was identified as the key accused.

Reportedly, this was for the first time that such a large number of LSD stamps was being seized in a single haul from within the city limits. The police said that they were sourced from Europe by placing the order over the darknet and paid in bitcoins. An LSD stamp priced at $2 to $3 in the foreign market was being sold here for anything between ₹1,300 and ₹1,500.

Hashish, ganja, 97 LSD stamps and ₹7.86 lakh were seized from the key accused’s rented home at Chilavannoor. Besides, a laptop, mobile phones, and a digital weighing machine were also recovered.

The rest of the 618 LSD stamps and ₹18,500 were seized from the house of Levin Lawrence, 28, at Ayyappankavu. He is suspected to be a peddler.

The arrest of Amal, 22, of Pachalam and Akshay, 22, of Ayyappankkavu, who were suspected to be clients-cum-peddlers, led to the arrest of the other two. They were arrested with 6 LSD stamps. The police suspect it to be a network with international links.

Nevin, who has been working in the tourism sector centred around Kodaikanal, allegedly used to smuggle in and sell drugs in Kochi for years. He had married a German lady in February and had since been residing at Chilavannoor. The police have launched a probe into his assets created through drug smuggling, bank accounts, vehicles, and the sources from where he procured drugs.

The police said that there has been a surge in the movement of drugs into Kerala taking advantage of COVID-related restrictions. Former convicts, migrant workers, and organisers of illegal rave parties are being constantly monitored.

Specially trained sniffer dogs have been deployed at important locations, including markets, bus stands and railway stations, and malls to detect and check the transaction in drugs. Patrol has also been intensified. Rewards have been instituted for encouraging and recognising cops to bust drug rackets. The city police are also offering awareness classes against drug use.

The operation was executed by District Police Chief (Kochi City) C.H. Nagaraju, Deputy Commissioner Aushwarya Dongre, and Narcotics Cell Assistant Commissioner Thomas K.A.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 5:18:53 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/four-held-with-721-lsd-stamps/article34103369.ece

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