Revenue sleuths bust narcotic racket in Kochi
Thiruvananthapuram: The Indian Revenue Intelligence officials have busted an international narcotic racket in Kochi, laying the trap for a British national, who sent the contraband in garment consignments to European and Western destinations.
In the past few days, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) officials seized 31 kg hashish and 100 kg of ephedrine, together valued at Rs 1.3 billion in the international market, from Kochi and Tirupur in Tamil Nadu.
Three persons taken into custody have been sent to judicial remand till December 8.
DRI Superintendent V S Syed Mohammed and sleuths seized hashish packets from a car near a hotel on the MG Road in Kochi and arrested garment exporter D Ramesh Kumar and customs house agent R Ramraj on Monday.
The officials subsequently raided Ramesh’s garment unit and warehouse at the textile hub of Tirupur, seized 100 kg of ephedrine and arrested the warehouse supervisor Selvaraj. They suspect that the drug was illegally diverted from a pharmaceutical unit in Tamil Nadu.
(Ephedrine is a chemical drug listed as a controlled substance under the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) and it costs about Rs 24, 000 a kilo in India and is sold on par with hashish in the West).
Syed Mohammed said the Briton, referred to as ‘Henry’, must have been procuring hashish from Nepal, carting it to Tirupur and further down to Kochi port for shipping it to foreign destinations.
The source of the contraband should be Nepal because such quality processing was not available locally, said Syed Mohammed. ‘Henry’ used to approach garment units in Tirupur with overseas purchase orders and his targets were recession-hit units.
The logic was that proprietors of such units would ask fewer questions in their eagerness to clear stocks at the earliest.
It was premature to say that all three in custody were willing players in the illicit trade but the fact was that the narcotic found its way into garment consignments either at Tirupur or Kochi or en route.
The detection of small packets with such costly contraband from among large containers, stacked on wharves, was difficult because Customs officials routinely checked only 10 percent of the goods owing to constraints of time.
Web posted at: 11/25/2009 9:24:34
Source ::: The Peninsula
By John Mary
1.3 billion crore = ~281 million USD
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