Mumbai: NCB finds drugs worth Rs 50 lakh in courier

Scrutiny of a courier parcel led the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) to seize 'buds' or curated marijuana worth Rs 50 lakh in the international market and the arrest of two persons.

According to the NCB, they received intelligence on banned contraband being smuggled into the country through courier. Subsequently, a team of NCB Mumbai, led by Zonal Director Sameer Wankhede intercepted a parcel at the Lonavala post office on Friday."A check of the parcel led to the seizure of 1,036 grams of curated marujauana," said Wankhede.Further investigation of the recipient of the parcel by the agency led to a further seizure of 74 grams of buds from the Bhimashankar CHS in Nerul, Navi Mumbai.They arrested Shrimay Shah, 26, a resident of Ahmedabad, Gujarat and Omkar Tupe, 28, a resident of Nerul. "The source of the seized contraband is Canada and was destined for Mumbai and Ahmedabad," said Wankhede. The courier was delivered at Lonavala to avoid scrutiny. Areas around the city may have been used by smugglers to bring in banned narcotics substances and the agency is investigating if there are more persons involved.The NCB has conducted intensive operations against the illegal import of buds, which is primarily sourced from the USA and Canada and has huge market demand in Mumbai.

The widespread use and demand for buds in the Mumbai region has jacked up prices in the grey market and their trafficking yields huge pecuniary gains, the agency has said.The sourcing of the buds is primarily through the Darknet, which gives layers of anonymity to buyers and sellers. The economic transactions in such trafficking involves cryptocurrency dealings, investigations revealed.According to agencies fighting narcotics, drug cartels have stumbled upon the idea of using courier services to smuggle drugs, where there is minimal risk of any of their members being found carrying drugs. NCB officers added that drugs like heroin, trafficked from across the border, are sent to Indian cities. Hashish, marijuana and controlled drugs that are prohibited from sale without prescription are shipped.

For want of monitoring equipment, regulations for shipment of packages are not followed at times, making it easier for drug cartels. NCB sources said that courier hubs in major metros may have been used to smuggle drugs, owing to better air connectivity. In a bid to ensure drugs are not couriered abroad or smuggled into the country, courier hubs in the city and the adjoining areas are under the lens of the NCB.

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