Mumbai

Fentanyl seizure accused a major player in smuggling

Link beyond border: The four accused arrested by the Azad Maidan unit of the Mumbai Anti Narcotics Cell for carrying fentanyl on Wednesday night.

Link beyond border: The four accused arrested by the Azad Maidan unit of the Mumbai Anti Narcotics Cell for carrying fentanyl on Wednesday night.  

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Salim Dhola had links with D-gang in 1990s: police

Mumbai: Salim Dhola, the alleged main accused in the seizure of 100 kg of fentanyl in Mumbai on Wednesday, has a criminal record dating back to the 1990s, when he was allegedly smuggling drugs for the Dawood Ibrahim Kaskar gang. Sources said Mr. Dhola, who has been caught with various kinds of contraband in the last 20 years, specialises in providing smuggling routes for contraband.

The fentanyl, which was being carried in four drums, was seized by the Azad Maidan unit of the Mumbai Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) on Wednesday night. The ANC arrested Mr. Dhola (52), along with Chandraman Tiwari (41), Sandeep Tiwari (38), and Ghanshyam Saroj (43), who were in the possession of the drugs.

“Mr. Dhola was first arrested in 1998 with 40 kg of mandrax at the Chhatrapati Shivaji International Airport. Inquiries till now indicate that he is an old player in the drug smuggling racket and has links that extend beyond borders. The consignment that we seized on Wednesday was to be sent to Mexico. But, we suspect Mexico was only a stopover, and that the ultimate destination was somewhere else,” Deputy Commissioner of Police Shivdeep Lande, Mumbai ANC, said.

Sources in the Mumbai Crime Branch said Mr. Dhola was involved in smuggling drugs for the D-gang when it was active and involved in the drug trade in India in the 1990s. Over time, as the gang moved to investing in real estate and focused more on extortion, Mr. Dhola found newer opportunities and started working as an independent drug runner.

Mr. Dhola, after being released from jail in the mandrax smuggling case, was arrested in 2013 by the Mumbai ANC after he was found to be in possession of 80 kg of cannabis. He was also arrested in 2016 by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence in Delhi with a large consignment of gutkha.

“Over the years, Mr. Dhola and his gang have established smuggling routes all over the country. The contraband is usually smuggled out of the country in containers which, on paper, are supposed to carry legally exported goods, and dummy companies are set up in India and in the countries where the contraband is to be received,” an ANC officer said. The officer said the fentanyl, which is worth ₹1,000 crore on the black market, had been brought from Gujarat, and that inquiries are being conducted to find out the source of the consignment.

Fentanyl, an opioid used in pain medication, is also used as an enhancer for various drugs. An extremely potent substance, it is added in milligrams to drugs like heroin and cocaine to enhance their effects. It is in high demand across the world, leading to international cartels trafficking it in large quantities.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 11:10:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/mumbai/fentanyl-seizure-accused-a-major-player-in-smuggling/article25854910.ece

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