Thiruvananthapuram

Thiruvananthapuram now a preferred destination as drug cartels have a free run

Increased drug flow due to improved sea and air connectivity to the city

The alarming rise in drug trafficking to the State capital over the last few years appears to have positioned Thiruvananthapuram as one of the preferred transit points for drug cartels. The proliferation of narcotics substances has left youngsters, particularly juveniles, vulnerable to exploitation by illicit drugs lobbies.

Enforcement agencies, which have been waging a stiff battle against drug rackets of late, attributed the improved sea and air connectivity in Thiruvananthapuram to the increasing rate of drug flow.

Investigators, who have explored the drug trail, confirm that the narcotic substances including hashish oil, which are smuggled to the State from the naxal-affected areas of Andhra Pradesh as well as from Tamil Nadu, Orissa, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, albeit in lesser quantities, find their way to Maldives through the port cities of Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram or Thoothukudi.

 

“Hashish, the more potent form of cannabis, is of much demand in European and Latin American destinations.

The lucrative business has been a major source of income for Maoist groups, who have managed to maintain the supply lines to various parts of the country,” said Thiruvananthapuram Excise Circle Inspector T. Anikumar, who has led several anti-narcotics operations, among which his team recently apprehended Idukki-native Shaji alias Moorkhan Shaji, a suspected kingpin in the racket.

Huge profits

Each kg of hashish oil, which is extracted from 40 kg of ganja, is estimated to fetch huge amounts ranging from ₹60 lakh to ₹1 crore in the global market.

This, when the raw material could be obtained for around ₹1,000 per kg, or even as low as ₹50 during certain months.

The increasing preference for drugs among youngsters has also contributed to the sustained flow of narcotics substances in the region.

Boosting the drug trade is the racketeers’ strategy to employ youngsters, mainly college students, as drug mules, or rather the proverbial sacrificial lamb, which insulated the former from legal action. Ganja was also being brought to the State capital by migrant labourers in large quantities through trains.

Of late, the Police and Excise Departments have intensified enforcement by going off the beaten path and hunting down the suppliers in their own den.

The Thiruvananthapuram city police arrested a suspected supplier and confiscated 325 kg of ganja during the operation conducted in the East Godavari district in Andhra Pradesh, which is known to have a major source of the contraband. District Police Chief (Thiruvananthapuram city) Sanjay Kumar Gurudin alluded that the seizure could be the largest drug haul by the Kerala police outside its jurisdiction.

Constant tabs

He added that various enforcement activities have been intensified by the District Anti-Narcotics Special Action Force (DANSAF) including keeping constant tabs on familiar drug peddlers and identifying black spots that serve as safe havens for drug trade.

With the district witnessing a spurt in drug smuggling through the inter-State borders, the Thiruvananthapuram Rural Police have also intensified inspections. District Police Chief (Thiruvananthapuram rural) B. Asokan said that both the excise and police forces have been regularly inspecting buses that came from Tamil Nadu at the check post in Amaravila.

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Printable version | Feb 29, 2020 7:33:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Thiruvananthapuram/city-preferred-destination-as-drug-cartels-have-a-free-run/article27142408.ece

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