In an investigation conducted over the last five days, the Anti Narcotics Cell of the Mumbai police crime branch has busted a mephedrone (MD) supply racket that stretches from Mumbai all the way to the Raigad district. Known as the poor man’s cocaine, MD burst on the illegal drug scene sometime after 2010 and quickly became a rage among the youth due to its effects and its affordability. Available for less than half the price of cocaine, it enabled people to stay awake for long hours and helped in weight loss, but was not included in the list of prohibited drugs under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act. It was only when drug rehabilitation centres began overflowing with MD addicts that the government finally declared it a prohibited substance under the NDPS Act in 2015.
According to ANC officers, the probe began with the arrest of two accused from Shivaji Nagar, Govandi, on July 8, after the Ghatkopar unit received a tip off about them. Acting on the information received, the ANC arrested Asif Wadkar, 33, and Hareshwar Patil, 26, near the Indian Oil complex. They were found to be in possession of 170 grams of MD, which is worth Rs 25 lakh, and are allegedly known suppliers of the drug in suburban Mumbai.
“During interrogation, Patil revealed that he had got the drugs from two accused – Prashant Thakur, 41, and Darshan Patil, 31 – both based in the Pen town in Raigad. We sent a team to Pen and arrested them, after which we brought them to Mumbai for further inquiries,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police Datta Nalawade, ANC.
He added that Prashant Thakur was also arrested in December 2021 in a joint crackdown by the Navi Mumbai and Raigad police Commissionerate, who had raided their base near Alibaug and seized 2.5 kg of MD. Six of his associates were also arrested at the time, but Darshan Patil had managed to escape with a larger stash of drugs before the police raid.