Narcotic busts all set to beat records
By K R Ranjith | Published: 16th September 2013 09:19 AM |
This year, the Excise Department will record the highest number of narcotics cases registered by its personnel, going by the current trends.
The surge in the narcotic cases, a grim reminder that the state is treading a perilous path to reach a ‘high’, can also be attributed to the scientific and specialised training the Excise hands underwent in the past couple of years.
Latest data show that the seizure of banned narcotics substances by the Excise Department in the state is the highest in the last five years. A total of 501 cases were registered till August this year as against the total cases of 513 in 2012.
“The five districts in the North Zone- Kasargod, Kannur, Wayanad, Kozhikode and Malappuram - have recorded the most number of busts this year,” said Excise Deputy Commissioner P Jayaraj.
“In Malappuram, the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) cases are increasing on a disturbing pace,” he added.
“People, it seems, are turning more in to these drugs from the lesser intoxicants. When smoking gets banned, they turn more to cannabis and when pan goes off the market, they slyly turn to stronger stimulants. It is a vicious circle,” P Jayaraj said.
In the last nine-months alone, Kannur recorded more NDPS cases than all the districts put together in the past five years. The number of NDPS cases crossed the 500-mark in 2012, a steep rise from 345 the previous year.
Significantly, large hauls of narcotics above 20 kg, considered as commercial quantity by the law, also recorded a spike this year with 27 such cases. Last year it was 21, and 18 in 2011. The increase in the seizure of heady narcotic ampoules and drugs like brown sugar, heroin and hashish points to the fact that Kerala has become a major hub for drugs.
Excise officials admit that the state has become a promising market for cannabis. “The influx of migrant labourers has increased the demand for ganja and they are the major consumers,” says V V Surendran, Assistant Excise commissioner. 1141.22 kg of ganja was seized in 2011, 584 kg in 2012 and 607.24 kg this year so far.
“Now we are more equipped to nab the peddlers and break the entire network, because of the specialised training we received at the Excise Academy in Thrissur,” Surendran adds.
“However, hard we investigate to nab the culprits, the drug mafia knows very well how to slip through the loopholes of the law. Seizure of up to 1 kg of Ganja is a bailable offence and they easily get back to business. Three years jail term is no big deal for them,” P Jayaraj rues.
“Two years back, we arrested a Tirur based man from Thrissur with a sizeable quantity of brown sugar. Intriguingly, the probe brought out transnational links of the trade. The drug came from Afganistan via Pakistan and the kingpin of the network was operating from a Kuwait prison. Now, the case is being investigated by the National Investigating Agency,” said V V Surendran, pointing to the fact that the international drug trade and terrorist links have made inroads to Kerala as well.