KOCHI: The midnight police raid at a DJ party in a five-star hotel in Kochi on Saturday is the latest among a series of anti-narcotics operations carried out in the city lately, further underpinning the widely-believed suspicion that Kochi harbours a thriving underground drugs market.
In the latest sting, police arrested six youngsters and a Russian DJ from Le Meridian Hotel in Kundanoor for possession of banned psychotrophic substances, including 3.5 grams of ketamine, which is known in the streets as rape drug.
In July last year, a police team had seized 10 grams of ganja after raiding a popular night club in the city, in the middle of a rave party. In the same month, 450 cans (500 ml) of beer, a few bottles of brandy and some packets of ganja were seized from a luxury boat, docked in the Kochi backwaters, again during a night party.
A passenger was detained at Cochin International Airport, Nedumbassery, with close to 2 kg of heroin in November 2014.
A month later, huge quantities of ephedrine, a precursor drug used for the synthesis of crystal meth or ultra-purified methamphetamine drug, were seized from a passenger at the same airport.
And the next month, actor Shine Tom Chacko and four women were arrested from a flat in Kochi with 10 grams of cocaine in what police described as the biggest cocaine bust in Kerala ever.
The back-to-back incidents involving drug use have even prompted the State Government to tell the Kerala High Court - during the trial of the cocaine case - that the global drug mafia is making Kochi its hub for their trade.
Meanwhile, a string ganja peddlers were caught sporadically from different parts of the district throughout the period.
The then Kochi deputy commissioner of police, R Nishanthini, who spearheaded most of the anti-drug operations in the city, had also said that Kochi has become a hub of drug peddlers, mostly owing to the increased interaction between the existing and foreign population and changing cultural landscape of Kochi.
Meanwhile, Joseph Saju, the Assistant Commissioner in-charge of the Narcotics Cell, ruled out the existence of an organised network facilitating drug trade.
However, he acknowledged that there exists a situation in Kochi, where, if someone wants to buy drugs, they can get them without putting in much effort.
“The drug peddlers are striving to widen their customer base, but at the same time they are careful not to get too much attention. They will definitely do a background check on a newcomer, but basically they are just happy to add another member to their ring,” he said. Going by the recent incidents, such rings keep getting bigger.