KERALA

28 kg of ganja seized

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM JULY 3. In a major narcotic bust, the city police today seized 28 kg of ganja valued at several lakhs of rupees meant for clandestine sale in the city and arrested four persons in this connection.

The Sub Inspector (Thampanoor), Sasindran Nair, said that the ganja was seized from four persons who had arrived at Thampanoor on a KSRTC fast passenger bus from Palakkad.

The accused were identified as Nalla Kurumban (21), Manoharan (32), "Buji'' Babu (20), all residents of Madurai in Tamil Nadu, and Muralidharan Nair (34) of Panavoor, near Nedumangadu.

The police had staked out at the Thampanoor bus stand following a tip off that a large consignment of ganja was being brought into the city. Acting on specific information, the police team led by the Circle Inspector (Thampanoor), Viswanathan, and Mr. Nair, arrested the accused persons as they alighted from the bus.

Police said the accused were carrying the stuff in two suitcases and one airbag. The ganja leaves were found to be neatly compressed and packed in plastic packets. Mr. Nair said the there was preliminary information that the stuff was meant to be delivered to a person at Nedungadu, near Karamana.

The carriers were supposed to make the delivery at the area of the Thampanoor bus stand where buses bound for Tamil Nadu are parked. Officials said the accused were being questioned in detail to verify the source of the drug and to pinpoint the persons to whom it was to be delivered.

The bust was described by the police as the largest single seizure of ganja in the city. Police sources said that there was a huge demand for ganja in the city.

There are scores of peddlers who push ganja in the down town areas of the city. Students, foreign tourists and unskilled workers form the bulk of their clientele. A large portion of ganja is diverted to Kovalam, Vizhinjam and Pulluvila areas for sale to foreign tourists who frequent the private beach resorts there.

Police sources said that the ganja sale networks in the city are controlled by organised criminal gangs operating out of the slum colonies of Karimadam, Poundkadavu, Chenkalchoola, Barton Hill, Apollo Colony (Kazhakoottam) and Bangladesh.

The drug is sourced from Idukki, Palakkad, Wayanad and Ponmudi for sale in the city. The consignments are delivered on the sly to the gangs who then retail it through the peddlers on the street. Police said the gangs were now recruiting women as pushers to pre-empt any body search on the street.

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