Neemuch (Madhya Pradesh): Drug smugglers keep police on toes with their tactics but district police force in Neemuch have outsmarted them nonetheless. The haul and arrest amid corona outbreak and lockdown in 2020 has been highest in recent years and in 2021 police have booked 68 cases and arrested 108 accused already.
“Harvest of opium or black gold is legal in Neemuch and illegal opium also finds its way into the market from the district. The smugglers modify their vehicles to smuggle opium,” said a cop.
For instance in 2016, over 35 kilograms of opium was seized from a car and a peddler was arrested by Neemuch Cantt police. The consignment was found concealed in a secret cavity in the door of the car, he added.
In the first of the drug bust that was made in 2021, a team of Diken police outpost under Ratangarh police station seized 3.3 quintal poppy husk which the peddlers were transporting from Jodhpur. They had hidden the consignment in a modified partition between the driver cabin and the loading area of the truck, he said.
In September, 2021, Jeeran Police seized 2.25-kilogram opium hidden in the side door cavity of a car. And in August 2021, Neemuch Cantt police seized over 60 kilograms of poppy husk stuffed in a tractor tyre, he added.
While the hide and seek game with smuggler is a challenge to the police hauling drugs which is being transported poses even a bigger problem.
An officer on condition of anonymity said, “Neemuch shares a long border with Rajasthan from three sides which is a major challenge as it is used as a transit route to smuggle drugs”.
“The drug peddlers keep changing their tactics but we have managed to seize drugs in large quantity,” the officer said.
Cop said that peddlers are now using imported cars which are modified to smuggle opium or other contraband.
Police have successfully managed to foil the smuggling bid through their intelligence network and technical team.
When contacted Neemuch superintendent of police Suraj Kumar Verma said, "Keeping in view of the new challenges, police are focusing on dismantling the smuggling network as well busting the retail peddlers.”
In response to another question, the he said that police easily trace the source of illegal arms or illicit liquor, but in the case of opium and poppy husk, there is a technical problem as it is legal to harvest in the region which makes tracing the source difficult.
Smuggling rife amid lockdown
Large quantities of contrabands have been seized in the year 2020, compared to 2019 and 2021. Smugglers are transporting contraband under the pretext of essential items as government has ordered to not stop vehicles carrying edible oil, medicines, medical equipment, and ambulances since the corona outbreak. As many as 87 NDPS cases have been registered during 2020- a year which witnessed lockdown running for months. In 2019 as many as 81 and in 2021 68 cases have been registered besides seizure of opium, smack, heroin, and brown.
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