Intoxicating city with Drugs

Drug lords play spoilsport as Mumbai celebrates New Year, writes Manmohan Singh Naula & Arun Kaushik

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Come January and the drug syndicates — who flood the city with illicit psychotropic drugs , have a field day — almost 50 per cent of the total year’s income is recovered in a single month of the year!

The multi-crore market of intoxicating drugs see the sudden spike in its sale in the first month of the year, notwithstanding global recession and economic downslide. The rate of Cocaine, which one gets at 6000 per gram on other days of the year shoots up to  10, 000 during this period!

Mumbai — India’s gateway to the outer world, is the hub of illicit drugs trade too. The arrival of January witnesses a slew of tourists from every part of the world in their colourful attires thronging the two most alluring and financially rich destinations in India — glittering Mumbai that boasts of a large story-spinner club called Bollywood and beachy Goa with blue Arabian sea overlooking the lush green Western Ghat.

Drug mafia, according to the inside information, has targeted the two cities for their drug supply. The sources reveal several consignments of such spurious drugs wrapped in camouflaging packets have started arriving in these two cities.

Drugs that are being tried to push into the markets are cocaine alias bamba, MD, ecstacy and ganja, besides others. These drugs are quite popular among the youths, and they’re targeted by the drug ganglord. Usually the consignment comes through trains via Jammu and Kashmir and Madhya Pradesh and reach its final destination, Mumbai. Roads and railways are preferred over airways due to proactive customs officials. Drugs from abroad land at Chennai from where it reach the metropolis through sea route. This remains the dynamics of its arrival in Mumbai and Goa.

The Goa connection

Goa is indisputably the largest market of such psychotropic drugs which stealthily make its way to the Indian market. The marketing of such illegal drugs has been monopolised by dreaded Russian ganglords. Earlier, Nigerians played the major role but currently they are replaced by Russians. The bloody battles ensued for monopolizing its marketing in the country between these two rival mafias in which several precious lives were reported to be lost.

According to sources, few influential public figures including politicians and corrupt cops are allegedly behind the illicit trade.

The drug mafia has created a reign of terror and those who raise their voice against them are threatened and in some cases even eliminated. The situation has reached to such a pass that a Goan minister has expressed his fear over threat to his life from them. Braving against all odds, Goa’s Forward Party legislator Vinod Palekar, praised by the local media as an intrepid fighter — urged the people to detox Goa from this evil.

The mafia has chosen Goa for drug trafficking during this month because tourists make a beeline to this nature’s paradise to celebrate new year. A drug syndicate member Junaid (name changed) told TEHELKA that Mumbai always remain their soft target as people here have immense purchasing potential and they easily sell their drugs sans any hiccup and generate good amount of money.

While another drug mafiosi, Salim (name changed) said the gangsters fear none and their works get easily facilitated through ‘settings’. They allegedly carry out their trade with the active support of a few corrupt policemen. In this connection, the narcotics department of the state had incarcerated several senior cops for helping mafias to carry out their trade unhindered in the state.

Favourite drug: Bamba

The modus operandi of the syndicate is well-oiled and organized. They use code words like GHODA for those people who take the drugs to MICRO — another group of people who take these to the customers. They carry out their task with utmost precision and avoid being identified and caught by the police. Their customers remain fixed and every one in this lethal chain keeps their ‘cuts’ — part of the booty in their lingo.

One MICRO, who remains active at a pub in Mumbai said that besides Bamba, their customers also demands MD. MD is easily available in and around Mumbai and thus there’s little problem in fetching them.

Mark, another member of the drug syndicate whose name is changed said, cocaine is sold at 6000 per gram today, which would shoot up by 50 percent after 25 December, while MD can be procured at 4000 per gram which would be doubled by that time.MD is equivalent to cocaine in terms of inebriation and its price is also less than the latter, therefore it’s becoming more popular among youngesters.

Since past few years, the state’s narcotic department of the Mumbai police have sprung into action and sealed few factories manufacturing MD. The operation carried out under Additional Commissioner Dr Manoj Sharma, between January 2019 to September this year 125 drug peddlers were arrested and drugs worth over  4 crore have been seized, which contains cocaine, MD, charas and ganja. 107 FIR has been registered against the offenders. Despite strict surveillance, the market for such drugs has been expanding in the metropolis.

Mumbai’s night life

Mumbai is known for its night life. The affluent western suburbs lying along Arabian sea boast of several drug mafia’s den. The upmarket areas of Juhu, Khar, Bandra, Santacruz have plenty of pubs and discos where drug use is rampant. One MICRO on condition of anonymity took the correspondent to a few pubs in these localities. It seems as if these were some Bollywood locations where yongesters found clutching cigarettes in their hands and shaking hips, dancing to the tune of musics. The MICRO stealthily handed out packets to the staff and rushed out to avoid recognition.

When asked why did he handover packets to the staff, pat came the reply: They too need their cuts. He said that delay would land him behind bars.

The disclosure reveals two things: The drugs are supplied to the customers through pub’s staff and girls too moonlight as peddlers as few could suspect them. They used to hide these inside their clothes and innerwear.

In Juhu there are a few infamous pubs where drugs are easily available: You pay and get ecstatic!

When TEHELKA  informed Juhu’s senior Police Inspector, Pandrinath Waaval, he said the police team on a tip off had raided these pubs in the past on several occasions but nothing could be found from there. After this, the pubs management had changed their entire staff.

High profile

Pubs, discotheques and high profile night clubs have become the status symbols these days and students of elite institutions are more prone to succumb to its temptation. In the first flush of youth, they fail to see the trap laid down by the peddlers to plunge them into the deep abyss of withdrawal symptoms and hallucinations. They remain the soft targets of drug lords and used by them to popularize such psychotropic drugs among their peers.

The senior PI Wavel said, “I frequently make surprise visits to colleges and other educational institutions in my area along with my seniors as well as junior officers in order to prevent youngsters from falling prey to drugs. I also try to convince young people to say no to drugs and talk with the authorities in these institutions as how to protect them from drug menace.”

Wavel has formed a special team of 8 javans to keep an eye on peddlers. “We’ve braced up to face challenges thrown by drug mafias and developed ways and means to arrest them and abort their plans “.

Meanwhile, Shivdeep Lande, DCP Anti-Narcotic cell dwells on the shift in the modus operandi of drug mafias currently. He said they have given tablet form to the drug MD inorder to camouflage it from being recognized. Moreover they are in alluring colours to tempt children. Additional CP Dr Manoj Sharma disclosed that 80 locations of drug supply chains that earlier used to supply drugs to colleges and educational institutions have been destroyed.

Hukka parlour

The ever mushrooming hukka parlours are yet another place that are frequented by young boys and girls. An employee of one such hukka parlour based in Andheri — Manju Shetty (name changed) told Tehelka that small amount of drugs are mixed with hukka’s ingredients in order to trigger addiction.

The social activists, post its revelation, sprung into action and knocked the door of Supreme Court. The apex court ruled that only herbal ingredients would be used in these parlours. Ironically, flouting court’s observation many hukka parlours in the city are still using psychotropic drugs stealthily and are in cahoots with drug syndicates. In Goregaon another such parlor too mocked at law, that too under cops protection! When a squabble between two groups turned ugly and resulted into the brutal murder of a youth, then alone the cops wake up from forty winks and ordered its closure.

Bollywood connections

Bollywood and drugs enjoy fraternal bond, literally. The senior actors in the industry play safe and get the ‘packets’ from those who are extremely close to them. Now, the celebs openly use it during parties mocking at the law!

Bollywood’s 90s sensation Mamta Kulkarni and her husband Vicky Goswamy are the kingpin of drug syndicate and still bracketed under the most wanted in Mumbai police’ crime files.

One police informer — Aziz (name changed) told TEHELKA that though the terror of underworld may be the thing of the past but their clout hasn’t been totally written off. It’s still there and calls the shots. D Company is active and supplying drugs to the Bollywood, he divulged.

The sources say that the actors and actresses toil hard to retain their stardom and thus consume drugs to keep themselves ‘fit’.

Recently, a video became viral on social media where Deepika Padukone, Arjun Kapoor, Vicky Kaushal, Varun Dhawan, Shahid Kapoor, Malaika Arora, besides others were clearly seen intoxicated at a private party thrown in by ace storyteller Karan Johar. The video was posted by Karan Johar on his microblogging site in June this year and attracted trolls of their fans.

Besides seasoned celebs, strugglers too gets dope to ‘minimize’ fatigue. Oshiwara, Versova, Lokhandwala are the areas in Western Suburb where young strugglers — boys and girls stay and reportedly consumption of drugs are quite high.

Nigerian angle

Nigerians constitute the biggest players in drug trafficking business in the metropolis. Earlier they were mostly concentrated around Masjid Bunder and other parts of south Mumbai, but as the new immigrants add to their population they expanded peddling activities to the further north of the city to western suburbs and even to the outer rim of Mumbai — Mira Road, Bhayender and even beyond that.

On condition of anonymity a police officer confessed that these Nigerians have clear edge over policemen both in terms of agility and physique. They run very fast and we can’t match their physical strength, he said. On several occasions they even attacked policemen who raided their hideouts.

The police role

Mumbai is becoming the den for peddlers and drug traffickers. Though, the city police are doing its best to arrest the trend, still lot more is needed to be done to free the metropolis from their octopus like claws.

Besides, Anti-Terrorism Squade is also sperately involved in screwing up these peddlers and their kingpins. On December 6, 2019 two peddlers were taken into custody by the ATS and 14.3 Kg MD, worth  5.60 crore, was recovered from them. They were planning to supply this to the local market in Navi Mumbai and Mumbai on the new year’s eve, the ATS said. On another occasion, the ATS busted a Panvel based laboratory that was manufacturing MD.

‘Peddlers, politicians and police have nexus’

Without local backing drug trade can’t stand the public resistance, Goa Aam Admi Party’s Valmiki Naik said, adding that no one can contest this as the state’s drug mafia whether Russian or Nigerian enjoys political patronage.

The AAP leader said, “Had this not been the case, the trafficking couldn’t have been carried out with such impunity. The raids are carried out simply to throw dust in the eyes of Goans.”

“It’s true that police used to seize drugs from peddlers in raids conducted by it. But they don’t tell exactly how much drugs is seized from the peddlers. They project false figures,” he added.

Making tongue in cheek remark about the unholy nexus, the leader said that there’s a PPP model working here, peddlers, politicians and the police. It’s the people who ultimately suffer.

“We can’t hold any single party responsible for this. Whether it’s the BJP or the Congress, whichever party remains in power they allow them to carry out illicit drugs trade without interference,” he said.

The air is thick with such tales but no action is taken to arrest the trend. It seems, the drug cartels have become more powerful than the politicians in the state. Those who try to raise voice against them get threats and they are silenced.

Goa has a vibrant tourism industry and traffickers have their sway right from Karangoot to Aranbel coastal belt of the state. This has started spreading its deadly claws to other cities and townships of Goa.

Pubs, discotheques and high profile night clubs have become the status symbols these days and students of educational institutions are more prone to fall prey to it. In the first flush of youth, they fail to see the trap laid down by the peddlers to plunge them into the deep abyss of withdrawal symptoms and hallucinations.

They remain the soft targets of drug lords and used by them to popularize such psychotropic drugs among their peers. Sometimes overdose leads to their deaths.

It’s an ominous trade that is carried out in utmost secrecy and with the patronage of the powerful men in the government. The voices of dissent are ruthlessly silenced. Beneath the calm and salubrious ambiance everything is not fine in Goa.

In conversation with MS Naula

Dismantle drug supply chain to spurn drug menace: NCB

Mutha Ashok Jain, Director General of Narcotics Control Bureau (SouthWesternA) sounds acerbic when he dwells on the wide-entrenched network of drug mafia. He stressed on two pronged fight against this menace: Supply reduction and Demand reduction.

“Supply reduction entails dismantling production, trade and supply chain of spurious drugs,” he said. Here Directorate of Revenue Intelligence or DRI, Narcotics Control Bureau,  police and Excise Department jointly carry out raids to stem the rot.

Demand reduction too is equally important to uproot the evil that has led to the paralysis of a significant chunk of young workforce,  he elicited his concern over the growing number of drug addicts in the city and the crime associated with it.

Demand control is part of this drug-free social drive and is look after by Ministry of Social Justice in association with the Ministry of Health and public welfare. They majorly look  after rehabilitation of addicts, their treatment and counseling besides spearheading social awareness campaigns against drug addiction.

Supply reduction is jointly look after by Home Ministry, State Police and Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Drugs fall under several categories.  Some are natural like opium and cannabis while others are semi synthetic like Heroin which is produced from opium. Chemical process is used to manufacture this drug. However cocaine is produced through natural process. Mafadrone, LSD and Ecstasy are purely synthetic drugs, which are prepared using multiple chemical substances. These all are manufactured to cater to people belonging to different socio-economic strata of the society. 

Currently,  the synthetic drugs are becoming more popular due to its easy availability and less cost compared to the natural drugs. These drugs give powerful kicks and thus mostly preferred by the youth. Besides, tracing and identifying these remain a big challenge for the enforcement agencies.

There’s an organization called Indian International Narcotics Bureau which convenes meeting every year to decide which medicine is to be banned. Every member nations have to follow it. For an instance Tramadol is banned in several countries and one cannot purchase it by showing prescription at medical stores. But there are many countries where it is not banned. Drug mafia take advantage of this and purchase this medicine from these countries and convert it into drug and smuggle this into Indian market.

Almost every cities in India need to be sanitized from the growing clout of drug mafia . Narcotics control Bureau is the apex agency that looks after this.

Drugs fall under several categories. Some are natural like opium and cannabis while others are semi synthetic like Heroin which is produced from opium. Chemical process is used to manufacture this drug. However cocaine is produced through natural process. Mafadrone, LSD and Ecstasy are purely synthetic drugs, which are prepared using multiple chemical substances. These all are manufactured to cater to people belonging to different socio-economic strata of the society.

Currently, the synthetic drugs are becoming more popular due to its easy availability and less cost compared to the natural drugs. These drugs give powerful kicks and thus mostly preferred by the youth. Besides, tracing and identifying these remain a big challenge for the enforcement agencies.

As told to MS Naula  and Arun Kaushik

CLASSIFICATION of narcotics

Drugs fall under several categories. Some are natural like opium and cannabis while others are semi synthetic like Heroin which is produced from opium. Chemical process is used to manufacture this drug. However cocaine is produced through natural process. Mafadrone, LSD and Ecstasy are purely synthetic drugs, which are prepared using multiple chemical substances. These all are manufactured to cater to people belonging to different socio-economic strata of the society.

Currently, the synthetic drugs are becoming more popular due to its easy availability and less cost compared to the natural drugs. These drugs give powerful kicks and thus mostly preferred by the youth. Besides, tracing and identifying these remain a big challenge for the enforcement agencies.

The drug syndicate, in order to prevent the drugs from being recognized and traced, has used code words for them:

Marijuana — Ganja, port, vid, 420

Cocaine — bamba, chita, blo, snow, disco powder

LSD — acid, boomer, blaster, Lucy

Heroin — brown sugar, powder, smack, H, A haizal

GHB — DRD (date rap drug), fancy, G raifak,  caps, chari methus

MDMA — MD, Ecstasy, E moulin, happy pills

Meth/Methaphantamine — ice crag, crystal

PCP/Fancy cladine — PP, belladona, rocket fuel, angel dust, dust

Adril — pep, AD, speed, upper

Catamine — purple, honey k, vitamin k, special k, SK, HK

Fentanyl — china town, TNT, poison

Rufi — pink, circle, woolfi

Oxycodone — kiker, oxy, OC, oxycotton

Mushroom — boomer, button, MM, magic M