Mumbai: The financial capital is also famous for its Bollywood and nightlife which also saw drugs penetrate the affluent section of the society at parties that went on till dawn. But that was a different era. Today, drugs like cocaine, marijuana and hashish have reached the streets and is no longer the sole operational area of the known underworld gangs of Mumbai.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officials who have been cracking down on the drug dealers ever since it took up late Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death say that new cartels, albeit much smaller in size than the likes of the cartel run by Iqbal Mirchi, have entered the society and are actively involved in peddling drugs.
“They move around in Mercedes and Jaguars, wear gold chains that are in your face and sit in their offices with pistols, which makes one compare them to reel-life mafioso’s,” said a senior NCB officer who has been part of most of the operations conducted in Mumbai. These are the new-age drug cartels which have taken to internet technology and has learnt the wherewithal to handle bitcoins, use the darknet to make deals, added the officer.
“It is not always possible to reach to the source from the narcotics emerge because it’s a multi-layered operation. But our aim is to weed out these cartels who run the business on the street,” said the officer.
NCB in the last one year has busted at least a dozen such cartels across Mumbai. Free Press Journal accessed the dirty dozen which has been trading in drugs, their modes of peddling, kind of drugs they deal in Mumbai.
In June, the NCB team had seized 12 kilograms of charas at Padga in Bhiwandi and had arrested two persons - Shabbir Usman Shaikh and Nizamuddin Ahmed Taja. Shabbir's interrogation revealed that the cartel he worked for had links with none other than underworld don-turned-global terrorist Dawood Ibrahim's brother Iqbal Kaskar. Iqbal, who is currently cooling his heels inside Thane jail, after he was arrested in an Maharashtra Control of Organized Crime Act case, was then interrogated by the NCB. Iqbal's voluntary statement was recorded and he was confronted with Shabbir. He disclosed that he has known Shabbir since 2006 and he procure narcotics from Shabbir for consumption. He also disclosed some vital information regarding drug trafficking of Dawood Ibrahim gang. "Shabbir, who is a right-hand man of Iqbal, was using Iqbal's contacts to get drugs from Pakistan Occupied Kashmir to the Indian territory. From Pakistan, the drugs would enter Anantnag in Kashmir from there it would travel to Punjab, Gujarat and finally arrive in Mumbai. The carrier of drugs would take 50 kilograms of charas from Kashmir and till the time they would reach Mumbai, only 27-28 kilograms of drugs would remain for local supply as during their journey they keep delivering drugs to peddlers in different states," said an NCB official. Though lodged in jail Iqbal Kaskar has managed to run the syndicate and NCB officials say that the gangster makes deals when he is taken to the hospital for a medical or gets out for a hearing and he passes on messages through his associates.
35 CASES FILED, 23 FOREIGNERS AMONG 50 ARRESTED IN 2019; 40 CASES WERE FILED IN 2020 AND 110 WERE ARRESTED INCLUDING 11 FOREIGNERS; 2021 SAW THE TOTAL NUMBER OF CASES GO UP TO 78 AND 154 ARRESTS (19 FOREIGNERS)
In January, NCB had arrested Parwez Khan alias Chinku Pathan, a notorious drug dealer of Mumbai along with one associate Zakir Hussain Fazal Huk Shaikh and seized 2.9 grams of Heroin, 52.2 grams of Mephedrone and one 9 mm blank Pistol from his residence at Ghansoli. Following Pathan's arrest, NCB conducted a raid at his associate Arif Bhujwala's residence at Dongri which led to the recovery of one Automatic blank Revolver, huge unaccounted cash amounting to Rs. 2.18 crore believed to be sale proceeds from illegal drug trafficking. A clandestine drug laboratory operated by Bhujwala in a Dongri building was also busted by the agency. Bhujwala gang is linked to a D-gang member who is currently based in London and is very close to Anees Ibrahim. In this case, the NCB had seized a total 5.742 Kilograms of Mephedrone, 1 kilogram Methamphetamine, 6.126 kilograms of Ephedrine along with cash Rs 2.18 crore, 02 weapons and total 10 persons were arrested in the said case. Those involved in the gang have been identified as Parvez Khan alias Chinku Pathan, Rahul Kumar Verma, Zakir Hussain Fazal Huk Shaikh, Mohammad Arif Bhujwala, Mohammed Salman Khan, Vikrant Jayantilal Jain alias Vicky Jain, Mohammad Aun, Heris Khan, Farhan Khan and Sonu Pathan.
The NCB in April this year, on the basis of specific information, dismantled an indoor unit for growing Hydroponic cannabis in Dombivli. The agency had sealed a 2-BHK flat in Dombivli as Cannabis was being cultivated there through Hydroponic techniques. From the site NCB team had recovered cultivation setup, PH regulators, plant nutrients, clay pebbles, water pumps, air circulation systems, CO2 gas cylinders, photosynthesis lighting systems etc. This indoor facility was running in the house of Rehan Khan who is in Saudi Arabia and financed all this activity. Arshad is an expert in Hydroponic cultivation and Javed used to manage distribution of Harvest. They were procuring seeds from Amsterdam and the Netherlands through the Dark web. The yield was sold to mediums size peddlers of Mumbai and Pune at the rate of Rs 2500 per gram for retail. Hydroponic weed is highly desirable in high society parties and rich people. The term Hydroponic Weed is referred to Cannabis grown without soil. This approach gives cannabis growers full control over plants which can produce reliable and faster harvest. The sale purchase was done in cash and crypto currencies like Bitcoins. The domestic supply orders and contact with retail customers was being done through social media apps like Snapchat and WhatsApp. In this case, NCB Mumbai seized 1.300 kgs of Hydroponic Weed (Ganja); 2 blots of LSD and arrested gangs members identified as Arshad Khatri, Javed Shaikh, Safuan Sayed.
The Arshad gang was procuring seeds from Amsterdam and the Netherlands through the Dark web. The yield was sold to mediums size peddlers of Mumbai and Pune at the rate of Rs 2500 per gram for retail
In November last year, NCB had seized 702.1 grams Ganja/Marijuana, 74.1 grams hashish and 3.1 grams Mephedrone along with Indian Currency Rs 1.68 lakh and an Innova Car at Andheri West and had intercepted one Wahid Abdul Kadir Sheikh alias Sultan. During Investigation, it was revealed that he supplied Ganja, MD and Charas to high profile customers. He had numerous vehicles including two wheelers and had employed many youths who worked and delivered drugs for him in the Andheri area. In this case, NCB Mumbai seized a total 728.1 gram of Ganja, 74.1 grams of Charas, 130.1 grams of Mephedrone. The Mirza gang consisted of Wahid Abdul Kadir Shaikh alias Sultan, Ismail Abdul Shaikh, Tanveer Siddiki, Shamshuddin Shaikh, Shabina Saaed, Salman Jamal Pashambe, Sharique Malik, Mehul Mistry, Sameer Shaikh, Rais Shaikh, Sajid Amir Khan alias Akbar Chaukat, Rizwan Muzammil Khan and Yusuf Hanif Mohammad Baloch.
On specific information in March this year, NCB had made a seizure of 2.684 kilograms of Codeine based Cough Syrup and 185 grams of Ganja at Tantanpura Street, B-Ward and had arrested one Rafique Chand Shaikh. Rafique Chand Shaikh has been working for Danish Merchant alias Danish Chikna, an associate of ‘Chikna Gang’, which runs a huge network of drugs in Dongri. In a follow-up action, NCB in joint operation with Kota Police (Rajasthan) had arrested Danish Merchant in April from Kota after a chase.
In February, this year, on specific information, NCB had affected a seizure of 20 kilograms of codeine based Cough Syrup, 56 gram of Mephedrone, 1.56 kilograms of Ganja, 2.5 gram of Charas and 200 gram of Nitrezapam at slums near Kurla Railway Station. Bablu Patri, a notorious drug trafficker of Kurla was booked in two drug related cases by Mumbai Anti-Narcotics Cell in 2010-11. Bablu Patri was running a distribution network of poly drugs in Bandra, Kurla and South Mumbai areas. The gang consists of Zaqir Hussain Abdul Rehman Shaikh alias Bablu Patriwala, Sahab Ali Mulla, Ibrahim Gaffur Shaikh alias Jahangoor and Milind Manohar Baraddi.
On the basis of intelligence developed by NCB, Mumbai seized a total 2.029 Kilograms of Mephedrone, 160 grams Ephedrine along with cash Rs 1.15 lakh, huge quantity of foreign currency, two luxury vehicles and intercepted two persons namely Shahrukh Khan alias Shahrukh Bullet and Shadab Farooque Shaikh alias Shadab Batata in April this year at Qasam Nagar, Andheri (W). Both Shahrukh and Shadab have past criminal records. In this case NCB Mumbai seized a total of 2.037 Kg of Mephedrone, 160 grams of Ephedrine, 31 tablets of Alprazolam, 20 grams of Charas, 0.6 grams of Ecstasy and had also arrested actor Ajaz Khan.
In April, this year, on the basis of specific information, NCB Mumbai had made a seizure of 28 kilograms of Ganja in one SUV in Badlapur (E) and arrested one Jaybharat Rathod in this connection. Further based on the input developed, the NCB seized 12 Kilograms of Ganja from another vehicle at Solapur-Pune Highway in June and arrested wanted criminal Sunil Nagesh Bhandari along with his accomplice Aman Suraj Gagde. A consignment of 12 kilograms of ganja was concealed beneath the front seat of their car. Bhandari has nine serious offences against his name, including drug trafficking, attempt to murder and extortion. The NCB probe revealed that the gang would procure Ganja from Odisha based naxals.
The NCB on the basis of intelligence developed had seized 70 blots of LSD, 30 gram curated Marijuana (buds) and Charas and had arrested Zaid Rana and his accomplice Sonu Faiz from Oshiwara. In follow-up action, NCB Mumbai intercepted one person namely Shubham Savardekar alias Thapa along with 30 gram from Andheri (W). One Zaid Petiwala was also arrested in the said case. Dangerous drugs like LSD, DMT, American Cannabis known as bud, cannabis extract known as dab etc are being bought through dark net by youngsters. The first step is accessing darknet websites through special software freely available on the internet for the purpose. After accessing darknet through this software, various web sites which are only accessible through darknet are accessed. These sites have various vendors who specialize in selling various drugs. None of these vendors reveal their true identities but provide their usernames on anonymous messenger services. The person who wishes to purchase the drugs, contact these vendors utilizing anonymous messenger services and enquire about availability and rate. Once the user decides on a product he places the order and provides the address for delivery of drugs. The payment is done through crypto currencies like bitcoins either directly by the user or utilizing services of middlemen/agents on special websites.
In July this year, the NCB team had raided a house at Jogeshwari (E) and arrested three persons - Sameer Mukhtar Sayyed alias Sam Langda, Zakir Sayyed alias Zakir Takla alias Zakir Chikna and Mohammad Amed Shamsuddin Shaikh and seized 1.2 kilograms of charas, intermediate quantity of Mephedrone along with cash Rs 17.5 lakh. Sameer is a notorious, organised drug-lord. In the garb of being physically challenged, he was running his notorious drug trade.
It is not always possible to reach to the source from the narcotics emerge because it’s a multi-layered operation. But our aim is to weed out these cartels who run the business on the street
–SENIOR NCB OFFICER
In June 12, in a clandestine operation, the NCB officials had busted a racket allegedly involved in supply of brownies, which contained edible weed and marijuana, the sale and production of which is banned under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, after raiding a Malad based bakery. A woman and two others identified as Elston Fernandes and Jagat Chaurasia were arrested by the NCB in the said offence. The team seized a total 830 grams edible weed or edible cannabis and 160 grams of marijuana from the outlet.The accused would mix a minimum of ten grams of contraband in each brownie, which would fetch a price ranging from Rs 400 to Rs 1000 and cater to a high-class clientele. The accused had opened an account on a social networking site/application and were accepting orders through Direct Messaging (DM). The NCB unit had seized 10 brownie cakes weighing 830 grams during the operation at Orlem. Jagat Chaurasia used to supply cannabis to the other two arrested persons who would prepare brownies from it. Edible weed pot brownie is a food product (either homemade or produced commercially) that contains cannabis extract as an active ingredient. Edible weed pots are a way of consuming cannabis. Cannabis edibles may affect people for a longer period, than if it is smoked. The important base to all food edibles is that it has fat that has been infused with THC. In other words, any food that contains butter, oil, milk, or any fatty substance can be turned into an edible. Examples of cannabis-infused foods include baked goods, candy, potato chips, and more. One may not be able to distinguish between regular baked goods and those containing cannabinoids which tend to have a slightly green tinge and often emit a faint cannabis smell, NCB stated.
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