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Drug racket busted: payment trail leads ATS to mephedrone factory in Pune

10 kg of mephedrone worth ₹4.20 crore, and a large quantity of chemicals was seized by police team from Alpha Chemicals.

10 kg of mephedrone worth ₹4.20 crore, and a large quantity of chemicals was seized by police team from Alpha Chemicals.  

A record of a payment made by one of the two people arrested by the Maharashtra Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) in a drug trafficking case led the agency to a factory in Pune, where mephedrone was allegedly being manufactured on a massive scale.

In December this year, the Juhu unit of the ATS arrested Mahendra Patil and Santosh Adke for allegedly manufacturing mephedrone and supplying it to drug peddlers in Mumbai and nearby cities. The ATS had at the time seized 14.3 kilogram of the drug, worth ₹5.60 crore.

Mr. Patil and Mr. Adke were first remanded in police custody for nine days and later sent to judicial custody. ATS officers said neither mentioned a second factory despite sustained interrogation. However, they got their first clue when ATS teams searched the houses of both the accused.

“We found documents pertaining to three bank accounts in Mr. Adke’s name and were scanning their records for any evidence in the case. We noticed that Mr. Adke had paid for some laboratory equipment in July last year. As the mephedrone seized earlier was also synthesised using laboratory equipment, we decided to explore the angle further,” an ATS officer said.

The investigating team contacted the supplier from whom Mr. Adke had bought the equipment. However, he said that a separate agency installs the equipment for his clients, and he had only handed it over to them.

“We then used the supplier’s call records to identify the agency that picked up the equipment and made inquiries with them. Based on the information they provided, we conducted a raid on Alpha Chemicals factory in the Purandar taluka in Pune on Wednesday. The factory had a sophisticated set up where mephedrone was being manufactured on a daily basis,” the officer said.

The ATS team, led by Police Inspector Daya Nayak, seized 10 kg of mephedrone worth ₹4.20 crore, along with a large quantity of chemicals used in its synthesis.

“Forensic experts who accompanied us on the raid have said that there was enough material to produce another 200 kilogram of the drug. We are now on the lookout for some others who were running the factory after Mr. Patil and Mr. Adke were arrested,” the officer said.

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Printable version | Apr 10, 2020 12:59:54 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/drug-racket-busted-payment-trail-leads-ats-to-mephedrone-factory-in-pune/article30875376.ece

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