KOCHI: The online taxi services have come under the Excise Department’s scanner after a three-member gang was found peddling drugs on the pretence of operating cabs in the district. The trio was arrested with 88 nitrazepam tablets in Aluva. The arrest comes after Excise sleuths arrested a few online food delivery boys with hashish and other drugs in May this year.
According to officials, the gang known as ‘Mad Max’ had been supplying the contraband across the state in ‘undercover’ online taxis. It was the first time that the gang, active for many years was nabbed. The accused are Mahin Pareeth, 23, of Vellathooval, Idukki; Shan Hashim,24, of Kallara in Thiruvananthapuram; and Navas Sherif, 20, of Punalur in Kollam.
The luxury car used to smuggle the contraband has been impounded. “The accused used to supply the drugs to customers, mostly students,” said an officer. The accused has links with the drug mafia in Puducherry and Salem in Tamil Nadu, from where the hypnotic drug used for sleep and anxiety disorders are smuggled.
Special team to combat abuse
To combat increased drug menace in Aluva area, the Excise Department has constituted an anti-narcotic special action shadow team. The trio was arrested after Excise officials received a tip-off that the gang was supplying drugs to students of a college in Aluva.