NCB unearths drug racket that provided doorstep delivery using app partners

In an operation that began on Thursday and ended on Friday night, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Bengaluru, unearthed a major drug syndicate that was allegedly using partners with a food delivery app to send high-grade marijuana in small packets to the doorsteps of clients.

Seven people associated with the syndicate have been arrested so far, including the kingpin and a delivery partner with Swiggy in Bengaluru and one person in Hyderabad. Three others were apprehended near Shivamogga after a high-speed chase. Several others have also been detained, said NCB sources.

According to NCB officials, the syndicate members were using Swiggy food delivery partners to courier drugs in small quantities — as little as 10-50 gm per packet — to their clients. In total, around 140 kg of high-grade marijuana was seized, along with ₹5.2 lakh, packing material used to package the drugs for retail delivery, and two vehicles.

The operation began on Thursday after the NCB team received specific intelligence on the syndicate. NCB Bengaluru zonal director Amit Ghawate said the team intercepted two persons on Thursday while they were in the process of taking delivery of eight boxes of the contraband from a courier vehicle and loading them into a car in Bengaluru. “The boxes contained 137 kg of ganja wrapped in paper packets with adhesive tapes,” he said.

This seizure led the team to the residential premises of the accused, where they recovered ₹4.81 lakh in cash and packing materials used for retail packing of drugs. “One Swiggy delivery partner was also apprehended. Furthermore, a search of the residential premises of another accused in Bengaluru resulted in the recovery of about 3 kg of ganja, packed in small packets with specific markings on it, and ₹39,000 in cash,” said the NCB in a release.

The trail led to the arrest of four more people on October 1, the supplier of the drugs in Hyderabad, and three others in Shivamogga, one of whom the NCB described as the “financial hand of the network”. The trio were apprehended near Shivamogga, after a high-speed chase late on Friday night.

How they did it

Explaining the modus operandi of the network, Mr. Ghawate said the traffickers, instead of physically travelling to buy the drugs, booked consignments through couriers. They gave them the addresses of non-functional shops or other business establishments for delivery.

“This drug cartel took advantage of the lockdown as delivery personnel were allowed to operate. The syndicate thrived, especially during the lockdown period with doorstep delivery,” said NCB officials.

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Printable version | Jan 23, 2022 3:04:29 PM |

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