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Gangsters hit the ‘weed’-filled highway to make easy moolah

Many notorious gangsters are back in action after a lull. This time, in a slightly different avatar sans knives and gore. On finding their jobs are no longer lucrative, many history-sheeters associated with dreaded ‘quotation gangs’ have turned to easier ways to rake in the moolah. 

Published: 16th June 2017 01:09 AM  |   Last Updated: 16th June 2017 06:53 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: Many notorious gangsters are back in action after a lull. This time, in a slightly different avatar sans knives and gore. On finding their jobs are no longer lucrative, many history-sheeters associated with dreaded ‘quotation gangs’ have turned to easier ways to rake in the moolah. 


As the sale of contraband fetches good profits, many of them have hit the ‘grassy’ highway in pursuit of easy money. As many as 17 persons were arrested for ganja smuggling this month and about 5 kg cannabis was seized from them. Of them, seven accused are involved in criminal cases in the district and outside, according to the police. 


The arrests of infamous gangsters Kombara Vineeth aka Vineeth Vijayan and Sangeeth aka Theevandi Sangeeth have shed light on the fact they have shifted their focus to ganja peddling. Cannabis was being smuggled to Kochi mainly from Oddanchatram in Tamil Nadu and Rayagada on the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border, City Police officers told Express. 


“Almost all gangsters in Kochi have links with the drug-smuggling network outside the state,” said an officer. “They use this connection for procuring the contraband at a cheaper price. From the rural pockets of Tamil Nadu, the peddlers can procure ganja at Rs 2,000 per kg. They sell it in small packets weighing below 50 gm at Rs 500,” he said.


From burglary and smuggling hawala money to assault and violations of the Arms Act, Vineeth, 30, had been involved in several cases. The police arrested six drug pushers along with Vineeth - the mastermind of the operation - from a hotel on SRM Road where they had been staying. Though he tried to flee after creating a scene by brandishing a weapon, he was overpowered and arrested. The other accused, hailing from Idukki and Pathanamthitta districts, also have criminal backgrounds.


Sangeeth got his moniker, Theevandi, as he used trains to smuggle ganja. According to the police, he would toss out cannabis packets from the moving train to his aides waiting by the side of the tracks. They would later hand over the stuff to customers while Sangeeth would alight at the nearest railway station. 

Given his modus operandi, Enforcement agencies could not pick him as no weed would be found in his possession. There are as many as eight cases against him under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act in various police stations. “Many notorious criminals are involved in drug peddling in the city,” said Crime Detachment Assistant Commissioner T Biji George heading the anti-drug operation. “However, they cannot operate successfully as the City Police has initiated stringent measures to nab them. On an average, two persons are arrested every day from the city for selling ganja.” 

Interestingly, weed pushers resort to ingenious ways to evade the police net. City Shadow Police SI Honey K Das said the drug racket employed various methods to give police the slip. “We have received information about a few racketeers operating on inter-state private buses as they seldom come under the police radar unlike trains and KSRTC buses. Now, we have shifted our focus to those operating on these buses,” he said. The City Shadow Police have been seizing large hauls of ganja almost on a daily basis. 

The tale of the infamous gangsters
The arrests of infamous gangsters Kombara Vineeth aka Vineeth Vijayan and Sangeeth aka Theevandi Sangeeth have shed light on the fact they have shifted their focus to ganja peddling. Cannabis was being smuggled to Kochi mainly from Oddanchatram in Tamil Nadu and Rayagada on the Odisha-Andhra Pradesh border, City Police officers told Express

From burglary and smuggling hawala money to assault and violations of the Arms Act, Vineeth, 30, had been involved in several cases. The police arrested six drug pushers along with Vineeth - the mastermind of the operation - from a hotel on SRM Road where they had been staying. Though he tried to flee after creating a scene by brandishing a weapon, he was overpowered and arrested.
Sangeeth got his moniker, Theevandi, as he used trains to smuggle ganja. According to the police, he would toss out cannabis packets from the moving train to his aides waiting by the side of the tracks. 



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