Inter-State drug racket unearthed; 1,500 kg of marijuana worth ₹12 crore seized

The prime accused, Chandrabhan Bishnoi, is from Rajasthan and an MBA student in Bengaluru

July 15, 2023 03:18 pm | Updated 11:07 pm IST - Bengaluru

The student and his associate were sourcing the marijuana from Andhra Pradesh.

The student and his associate were sourcing the marijuana from Andhra Pradesh. | Photo Credit: Photo for representation only

The ganja seized by the Central Crime Branch police, Bengaluru.

The ganja seized by the Central Crime Branch police, Bengaluru. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

The Central Crime Branch (CCB) police busted an inter-State drug racket and arrested two persons, including an MBA student, and seized 1,500 kg of marijuana (ganja) worth ₹12 crore recently. 

This was one of the biggest seizures of marijuana in the city, said Bengaluru Police Commissioner B. Dayananda. It may be recalled that the Bengaluru police had seized 1,200 kg of ganja from Kalaburagi in September 2020.

The present racket came to light with the arrest of a drug peddler, Salman Pasha, 22, who was selling marijuana at Mysuru Road tollgate on June 22. His interrogation on the source of the narcotics led the police to the jungles around Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, a region from where marijuana that floods the city’s streets is regularly sourced from.

Three-week-long operation

It was a three week-long covert operation by officials of the Women Protection Wing of the CCB, who stayed in and around Visakhapatnam to crack one of the biggest-ever seizures so far, Mr. Dayananda said.

A team, led by Assistant Commissioner of Police Reena Suvarna, went to Visakhapatnam and stayed there for three weeks to set up their network of informers and gathered details of the accused before the duo was caught red-handed with the consignment concealed in a specially designed secret compartment of the truck they used to transport the narcotics in.

The duo used to smuggle narcotics in a truck that had a specially designed compartment to conceal the consignment, which has also been seized now.

“The accused used cartons of an online commercial marketing company to hoodwink enforcement agencies and got fake registration number plates on the truck to get past border check-posts,” Sharanappa, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) said.

The CCB arrested two prime accused in the case: Chandrabhan Bishnoi, 24, from Rajasthan and an MBA student, and his associate Lakshmi Mohandas, 23, from Andhra Pradesh. The duo started as consumers before turning into sellers by tapping into their contacts, sources said. 

Inter-State network

The accused had an inter-State network and used to purchase marijuana cultivated in semi-forest areas in the hilly regions around Visakhapatnam by tribal people and on the Andhra Pradesh-Odisha border. The accused had a wide network and used to supply drugs to many States, including Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Karnataka, a senior police official said.

Mr. Dayananda said the city police were mulling over setting up a coordinated network with their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh and Odisha to crack down on narcotics trade, as in many cases marijuana recovered in the city was usually sourced from these two States.

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