KOCHI: As if gold and drugs smuggling were not enough, the state is also seeing various cases of illegal firearms trafficking, especially guns, brought from northern states. The data with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has thrown light on the growing gun culture in the state with 359 seizures of unlicensed, improvised and country-made firearms reported from here between 2014 and 2016. This, revealed the data, was higher than similar seizures in Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka, where 189 and 257 cases, respectively, were reported in the two years.
A senior intelligence officer said a majority of illicit firearms were being brought to the state from Delhi.
“Organised rackets are smuggling guns and supplying it in Kerala. There is a growing demand for guns in the state with several rackets taking up smuggling and claiming monopoly in selling drugs in one part of an area,” the officer said, adding the Delhi police had busted a number of gangs which were into supplying illicit firearms.
Local police officers said, drug mafia was procuring guns to dominate the trade and threaten rivals.
“Despite possessing illegally-sourced, branded guns, they don’t use it, as tracing the gun from a fired bullet is possible due to advancements in forensic ballistics,” said other officers.
They said gangs did not carry guns regularly as there is the fear of getting caught with it during surprise vehicle checks being conducted by police teams on main roads.