The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has busted the country’s largest darknet-based Lysergic Acid Diethylamide (LSD) smuggling syndicate named “Zambada cartel” with the arrest of three accused persons. This is the second such detection by the agency in the recent past.
NCB Deputy Director-General Gyaneshwar Singh on Tuesday said the cartel had planned to set up its first LSD outlet in India with a minimum stock of 1 lakh LSD blots, with international to-and-fro facilities.
The agency has found that the vendors and buyers were in contact with each other through social media sites. The drugs were being supplied using couriers and fake addresses or mobile numbers and payments were received and made through cryptocurrencies and their conversion.
In order to identify those linked to the darknet-based drug trafficking cartels, special teams were formed by the NCB’s Delhi zonal unit. An operation was launched on April 19, which led to the detection of the second largest cartel with the seizure of about 15,000 LSD blots, 44 gm of MDMA and seizure/freezing of drug money amounting to ₹24.65 lakh.
The NCB then zeroed in on the “Zambada” cartel whose conduits were operating from Delhi and nearby areas. Two of them were identified and a surveillance mounted on their activities. The agency then tracked down their handler from Ballabgarh in Haryana’s Faridabad. During the subsequent raids, 13,863 LSD blots, 428 gm of MDMA and ₹26.73 lakh were seized.
Mr. Singh said the NCB’s Delhi zonal unit had so far registered six cases related to LSD cartels and arrested 22 Indian nationals. “The operation still continues against the third largest darknet cartel. The cartels on darknet are rated on a scale of 1 to 5 stars based on the potency of the drug sold and their customer service. Zambada cartel was the only cartel in the country with a 5-star rating,” he said.
“It is the largest cartel of LSD based on volume of business and supply chain. This cartel comprises young educated men in the age bracket of 21-25 years...various web series on OTT platforms inspired their mode of operations. They named this cartel inspired by ‘Ismael- Marlo Zambada Garcia’ who is a Mexican drug lord and is the last remaining fugitive of the list of Mexico’s 37 most wanted drug lords and carries a reward of Up to $15,000,000,” said Mr. Singh.
In September 2022, the Hyderabad police had arrested eight people, following which the name of “Zambada” cartel had come up. The man running the operations in India was in close contact with a darknet operator named Dr. Seuss aka DS, TS (Tribe Seuss) and Gamma Goblin, who is allegedly the largest source of LSD across the globe.
“Zambada intended to open an Indian outlet of Dr. Seuss wherein he would have maintained a minimum stock of 1 lakh LSD blots. Dr. Seuss (Tribe Seuss) has outlets in the United Kingdom, United States, South Africa, Canada, Russia, Spain, Portugal, Greece and Turkey,” said Mr. Singh, adding that the NCB had started working with various foreign law enforcement agencies to identify the sources of drugs and arrest those involved.