Visakhapatnam

Tribal youth fall prey toganja smuggling ring

Disturbing trend: The City Task Force has seized 2,149 kg of dry ganja valued at ₹85 lakh in Visakhapatnam city alone in 2018.

Disturbing trend: The City Task Force has seized 2,149 kg of dry ganja valued at ₹85 lakh in Visakhapatnam city alone in 2018.  

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‘Lured by easy money, they work as pedlars and couriers’

It is no secret that ganja (cannabis) is being cultivated in the interior pockets of Visakhapatnam agency and smuggled illegally to other States and cities such as Hyderabad, Bengaluru, New Delhi and Goa. But, what worrying the City Task Force (CTC) more is the growing number of tribal youth getting sucked into the smuggling ring.

As per Assistant Commissioner of Police (CTF) I. Chittibabu, about 41 ganja smuggling cases were recorded in the city limits and 117 accused were nabbed in 2018.

“More than 50% of the accused were tribal youth. Hailing not only from Visakhapatnam city but also from Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the youngsters were hired by the big fish of the illicit trade to shift the contraband from the interior parts of the Visakhapatnam agency to other destinations,” Mr. Chittibabu explained.

But the real area of concern, he said, is the youth being getting addicted and then turning into courier agents for the smugglers.

“The entire operation is a heady mix. First the youngsters get into ganja addiction, then they are lured by the smugglers to work as pedlars or courier boys. Some of the youth resort to smuggling ganja on their own for easy money,” he added.

According to records, the CTF has seized about 2,149 kg of dry ganja valued at ₹85 lakh, in 41 cases reported from Visakhapatnam city in 2018 alone.

Modus operandi

According to officials, the CTF has recently found that there are indications of tribal youth shifting weed to different places in Goa and trading it with other sedative drugs as LSD (Lysergic acid diethylamide).

However, the police are yet to ascertain the detailed modus operandi. But they suspect that drugs including LSD are being brought back from Goa in small quantities and sold in cities such as Visakhapatnam, Bengaluru and Hyderabad.

ganja, especially the Sheelavathi variety that is grown in Visakha agency, is in high demand in cities such as Bengaluru and Goa and the tribal youth exchange ganja for LSD which they are suspected to route it to Hyderabad and Vizag.

Easy money

“One kg of ganja (Sheelavathi variety) is procured for around ₹2,000 from the agency area, but sold at ₹15,000 per kg in Hyderabad, Bengaluru or Goa,” said the ACP.

It is estimated that each smuggler carry at least 10 kg of ganja, and in exchange they procure LSD, which cost around ₹1,000 to ₹1,500 per blot or hit in Goa. When the same LSD reaches Hyderabad it is sold at ₹3,000 to ₹3,500 per blot, a senior excise official said, requesting anonymity.

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Printable version | Jan 27, 2020 7:52:10 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Visakhapatnam/tribal-youth-fall-prey-toganja-smuggling-ring/article25877674.ece

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