Mumbai: After two months of vigorous investigation, the Saki Naka police have managed to uproot the manufacturing and supply of mephedrone or MD drugs, also called meow meow or white magic. This synthetically manufactured stimulant, also referred to as cheap cocaine, turned out to be a large-scale hawala business between the two cities, Nashik and Mumbai, said the police on Friday. Interestingly, popular drug trafficker Lalit Patil's brother, Bhushan Patil, owns the factory that was raided by the police. Further links are being probed.
A total of 150 kg of mephedrone has been seized by the police, worth Rs. 300 crore, and 12 persons from Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Nashik have been arrested.
MD Drug factory | FPJ
Mumbai News: MD Drug Factory Busted, 12 arrested, Drugs Worth ₹300 Cr Seized | FPJ
Tip received in August
The tip of this drug syndicate first emerged on August 8 when a police official named Ashok Jadhav, stationed at the Saki Naka police station, received a tip-off about MD drugs being moved in their police jurisdiction. The tip-off revealed that a large number of sellers were seeking potential buyers to expand the MD drugs business. Thus began the initial steps into this vast drug racket, said Datta Nalawade, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Zone X. "Initially, we were unaware of the scale of the operation. We only had the tip-off, but we started progressing, always keeping our next suspect in mind. With each arrest, interrogation, and investigation, we moved forward to another suspect, gradually uncovering the extent of the operation," the officer explained.
The first arrested accused, Anwar Sayyad, was found with 10 grams of MD drugs in his possession. During the interrogation, Sayyad revealed information about three more accused, based in Dharavi, from whom he procured the MD drugs. Javed Ayub Khan, 27, Asif Nazir Sheikh, 30, and Iqbal Mohammad Ali, 30, all from Dharavi, operated a local drug racket and were subsequently arrested. These three disclosed their source, who also hailed from Dharavi. Identified as Sundar Shaktivel, 44, Hassan Sulaiman Sheikh, 43, and Ayub Abdul Sayyad, 32, they were traced and apprehended. They too were operating a local racket and were found with 10 grams of MD in their possession. During the interrogation, Hassan revealed that they sourced the drugs from a man named Aarif Nazir Sheikh, 42, from Hyderabad. A team was sent there, and Sheikh was apprehended with 110 grams of MD, several locally-made pistols, seven rounds of bullets, and four lakh in cash.
Aarif informed the police that he procured the MD drugs from a man named Nazir Umar Sheikh, residing in the JJ Marg area near Mazgoan. Nazir, known as 'Chacha' (meaning Uncle), was arrested by the police on August 20 and was found with 9 kg and 250 grams of MD in his house. The trail didn't end there, as Nazir disclosed that he received his supplies from a man named Rehan Ansari, a resident of Shilpata Kalyan. Ansari was subsequently arrested by the police, along with his partner named Asmath Ansari. They were found in possession of a total of 15 kg of drugs.
During Rehan Ansari's interrogation, the police got their first breakthrough in this extensive racket. Rehan informed the cops that he obtained his supply from a man named Zishan Iqbal Sheikh, 34, residing in Nashik. Upon investigating Zishan, the police discovered that he worked at a company based in the Shindegoan area of Nashik. The company manufactured MD drugs from scratch. Zishan was arrested by the police at the same factory, where a significant supply of MD - 133 kg, worth over Rs. 267 crores - was found and seized.
MD favourite drug among abusers
Zishan claimed that he 'managed' the company, although it was registered under the name of Bhushan Patil, brother of Lalit Patil, who also runs a substantial MD drug business. Police sources revealed that both Patil brothers are currently on the run and are being actively pursued by law enforcement.
Police sources also divulged that MD drugs have become a favourite among the masses over the past five to seven years. For consumers, MD is considered a 'soft' drug that enhances mental and physical functions. For manufacturers, MD is cost-effective to produce compared to other drug variants. The production of MD drugs is primarily conducted in the hawala business form, especially in urban cities across the country.