Maharashtra: Rising Drug Menace Sparks Statewide Concern And Vigorous Enforcement

Maharashtra: Rising Drug Menace Sparks Statewide Concern And Vigorous Enforcement

The police have, in the recent past, busted several drug manufacturing units, which are the source of drug preparation.

Vishal Singh Somendra SharmaUpdated: Wednesday, October 18, 2023, 08:13 AM IST
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Recently, politician Satyajeet Tambe had written to the Director General of Police Rajnish Seth and demanded that efforts should be taken across the state to curb the menace of drug trafficking to prevent it from becoming 'Udta Maharashtra'.

In 2016, the movie Udta Punjab highlighted the issue of the drug menace, having taken the youth of Punjab in its grip.

Collaborative crackdown on drug trafficking

The police have, in the recent past, busted several drug manufacturing units, which are the source of drug preparation. Not only the police but also the central agencies like the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), and Customs have played their part in curbing the menace of drug smuggling and trafficking in the city and state.

Police action

Though drug smuggling and trafficking in the state are happening, the police are taking regular action against drug peddlers at different places in Maharashtra. Mumbai Police has registered a total of 975 cases of drug smuggling from January to July this year, in which 1161 accused have been arrested. Police seized drugs worth more than ₹42 crore, including heroin worth ₹3.2 crore, hashish worth ₹1.82 crore, cocaine worth ₹49 lakh, MD worth ₹28.42 crore, and ganja worth ₹1.89 crore.

Sudden surge in drug factories

In the last week, drug factories have been busted in Nashik, Solapur, and Pune by the Mumbai Police. From where drugs worth ₹500 crore have been recovered, and dozens of accused have been arrested. Drug trade has suddenly increased in the state, and action is also being taken on a large scale against drug addiction. However, in such a situation, the question is being asked whether Maharashtra is also becoming Udta Maharashtra like Udta Punjab.

On Friday, the Mumbai Crime Branch arrested two brothers from Khar and during their interrogation, they raided a factory in Chincholi MIDC, Solapur, and seized MD drugs worth ₹16 crore. The crime branch seized 50 to 60 kg of raw material for making MD drugs from the factory, the value of which was said to be around ₹100 crore.

In the first week of October, Sakinaka police raided a factory in Nashik MIDC, recovered about 150 kg of drugs, and arrested a total of 12 accused. The market value of seized drugs is ₹300 crore.

In the month of March, Mumbai Crime Branch raided a courier office in Andheri and seized drugs worth eight crores. The name of international drugs smuggler Kailash Rajput had come up in this case. In this case, the Crime Branch has arrested Rajput's brother Kamal Rajput from Vasai.

This year, the Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) has registered a total of 86 cases in the year 2023, in which 174 drug suppliers have been arrested, and drugs worth ₹38 crore have been recovered from them.

Cross border drug trade

In the year 2022, the Worli unit of the Mumbai Anti Narcotics Cell busted a drug factory in the Bharuch district of Gujarat. Police had recovered about 513 kg of MD drugs from Ankleshwar area of Bharuch. The value of the seized drugs in the international market is ₹1,026 crore. In this case, the police arrested 7 accused, including a woman.

NCB's recent bust and syndicate unveiled

Recently, based on credible input and prolonged field surveillance, the NCB Mumbai team intercepted one vehicle on 06.10.2023 in Pune. On close examination of the contents of the vehicle, suspicious powder and some lab equipment were noticed. On spot interrogation of a person in the vehicle, it was found that there was a factory shed in the nearby area. On verification, it was found that there is a systematic and sophisticated clandestine laboratory in the said factory shed. On examination of this clandestine lab, 173.35 kgs Alprazolam was found along with huge stock of raw material required for alprazolam manufacturing. The clandestine lab contained state-of-the-art equipment, reactors, generators, driers etc. A small waste pond was also formed just outside the clandestine lab premise.

The person was apprehended and immediately subject to questioning, which led to revelation of another factory shed near Narayangaon, Pune. On close verification the shed, it was found that it was also a clandestine lab. In this lab, 25.95 kgs of Alprazolam was found along with huge stock of raw material required for alprazolam manufacturing. Both the clandestine labs were built in the inaccessible area where it was difficult to reach by vehicle, to hide from the general public.

In this case, one person who went for sale of illegally manufactured alprazolam was caught at Hyderabad. It was also found that both these clandestine labs were run by the same drug syndicate. The illegal alprazolam manufactured was sold in Maharashtra, Telangana, and Andhra Pradesh, especially for making illegal Todi. The key members of the syndicate were identified, and further investigation is in progress.

(With inputs from Somendra Sharma)

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