Majority of drug seizures reported from four States in 2019-20: DRI

Precursor chemicals formed the bulk in last financial year

December 06, 2020 04:13 pm | Updated 04:15 pm IST - NEW DELHI

Police inspect ganga seized in Khammam on December 27, 2019. The police seized dry ganga weighing around 300 kg. File

Police inspect ganga seized in Khammam on December 27, 2019. The police seized dry ganga weighing around 300 kg. File

Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Telangana and Tamil Nadu accounted for the majority of drug seizures during 2019-20. The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence ’s annual report said 72 seizures of substances covered under the Narcotic Drugs & Psychotropic Substances Act were made across India.

In 2018-19, the majority of seizures was reported from Bihar, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Assam.

Also read: Substantial increase in ATS drug seizures in India: says United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime report

The agency, in coordination with the Coast Guard, seized 217.8 kg of heroin off the Gujarat coast. The seizure involved a daring mid-sea operation and chase involving two highspeed boats and an aircraft of the Coast Guard. Six Pakistani nationals were arrested.

Last financial year, an increase in the seizure of precursor chemicals was noticed. Compared to the previous year, the seizure amount of alprazolam/zolpidem increased from 40 kg to 130 kg; and about 143 kg metamphetamine was seized as against close to 126 kg in 2018-19. There was a substantial increase, from a little above 12 kg to about 58 kg in mephedrone seizures, while nearly 550 kg ephedrine was intercepted.

Also read: Seizure of ₹1.25 crore of narcotics turns spotlight on DJs

Owing to a crackdown on syndicates smuggling tramadol, there was a steep decline in its seizures from 2,766.74 kg to just 22.69 kg in 2019-20. The stuff, earlier being diverted and smuggled overseas, was finding its way for use by the the IS terrorists as pain suppressant and strength booster.

“India also faces a huge problem of synthetic drugs like mephedrone, amphetamine type substances (ATS), new psychoactive substances (NPS). From the seizure data, it is observed that activities related to illicit manufacturing and trafficking of such psychotropic substances are mostly prevalent in Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu,” the report said.

Also read: International drug racket unearthed, 9 peddlers held

These States have a large base of small and medium chemical and pharma industries “which can be easily used by drug cartels to manufacture such illicit drugs”. The northeastern States face the problem of synthetic drugs due to their borders with Myanmar, which is one of the major producers, especially methamphetamine.

Based on a specific intelligence, the DRI officials in Chennai had intercepted a consignment of over 1.37 lakh tablets, including alprazolam, being exported to the U.S. in the guise of herbal/ayurvedic medicines. The agency also located an international call centre in Jaipur, run by an accused, which had been set up to book orders of tablets like alprazolam and tramadol from buyers in the U.S.

Also read: In a single biggest seizure in Kerala, excise officials seize 500 kg of ganja in Thiruvananthapuram

“In March 2020, barely days before the nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 was to begin and when fear of global pandemic was looming large, the DRI busted two factories manufacturing ephedrine in Maharashtra, leading to detection of almost 500 kg in liquid and slurry form, and recovered ₹89 lakh,” it said.

The Coast Guard, in 2019-20, also seized 1,160 kg ketamine worth ₹300 crore along the Andaman & Nicobar coast and arrested six Myanmarese nationals. It also seized 371.60 kg methaqualone worth ₹185 crore there. Another consignment of 35 kg heroin worth ₹175 crore was intercepted by the Coast Guard along Gujarat coast, and five Pakistani nationals were arrested.

Along the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders, apart from Jammu & Kashmir, Assam and the naxal-affected areas, the Sashastra Seema Bal seized 5,306.32 kg narcotics. The Assam Rifles also seized various kinds of banned drugs worth about ₹250 crore.

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