As a part of a constant crackdown against drug and drug peddlers in the city, the Ghatkopar unit of Mumbai Police's Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) arrested two men and seized 1,800 kg cannabis aka ganja valued at ₹3.5 crore from them, which was being brought from Odisha. Police said that the arrests were made from Vikhroli on Friday evening, wherein they arrested two men, who were getting trucks loaded with the contraband under the guide of importing coconuts.
Milind Bharambe, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime), said that they had received a tip-off about a drug consignment being smuggled in the city, acting in which all routes in the city were put on high alert for contraband. On Friday evening, at around 5.20pm, police spotted a Tata truck matching the description in the tip-off and intercepted it on the Eastern Express Highway near Vikhroli.
Upon checking the vehicle thoroughly, police found a large amount of Cannabis aka Ganja stashed in the truck. "We found 1,800 kilograms of Ganja, valued at ₹3.5crore from the truck. They were immediately booked under relevant sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substance (NDPS) Act. The contraband was being smuggled in Mumbai from Odisha, the probe has revealed," said Bharambe.
The arrested accused have been identified as Akash Yadav, 25, and Dineshkumar Saroj, 26, while the kingpin of the inter-state smuggling racket has been identified as Laxmikant Pradhan, a Ganjam resident in Odisha, added Bharambe. Revealing the modus operandi, police said that the accused used to bring five tonnes of Ganja in Maharashtra every month and it was distributed in Mumbai and neighbouring districts.
Police also identified a man who distributed the contraband in the state as Sandeep Satpute, who supplied from a godown in Bhiwandi to Mumbai and suburbs, Thane, Palghar, Vasai, Virar, and Surat. Primary probe has revealed that at least 2.5 tonnes of cannabis used to be smuggled in the state every fortnight.
Police said that the trucks were loaded at a rendezvous point, so as to keep the source and destination under wraps. The trucks reached Mumbai via Hyderabad, Solapur and Pune and went through Andhra Pradesh to Odisha. Meanwhile, police have initiated a search for Pradhan, Satpute and other members of the gang.