Kochi’s drug mafia uses UP rackets to smuggle in charas

Dealers take advantage of the poor security on the Indo-Nepal border
For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)
For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

KOCHI: The city’s drug mafia has been extending its network across the country to ensure a steady flow of drugs to meet the rising demand for ganja, charas, hashish and brown sugar.
The dark underbelly of the drug mafia’s inter-state operations reaching up to rural areas in Uttar Pradesh was exposed when an excise team, probing the seizure of 6.5 kg of charas worth Rs 10 crore in Kochi, found the links of certain accused with drug operatives in UP. 

During the probe, the team got clues on the rackets in UP helping the carriers of Kerala-based narcotics rackets to smuggle in the contraband without falling under the prying eyes of the enforcement agencies. 
It was with the support of the UP rackets and taking advantage of the poor security on the Indo-Nepal border that the main accused in the case, identified as Varghese Judson of Puthuvype, brought the drugs to Kochi.  
“We have received evidence regarding the persons supplying the drug to the accused. We are in the process of recording the statement of the accused. A detailed interrogation is on. A team will soon leave for UP for further investigation,” said an officer.
The Excise Department said the accused has been committing the crime with the support of a well-oiled pan-India network. 

Officers said Judson procured charas at a rate of Rs 20,000 per kg from the Nepal border and used to sell it in retail at a rate of Rs 10 to Rs 15 lakh per kg in Kerala. 
“He used to go to Nepal via road on his SUV. After procuring the contraband from Kushinagar on the Indo-Nepal border, where there is no security check, he returns via UP, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka to Kochi by enabling the GPRS facility of the vehicle. He also started a rent-a-car business as a cover to smuggle the contraband to various locations in Kerala,” the officer said,
According to Excise Assistant Commissioner Ashok Kumar, the investigation team will file an application before the court seeking the custody of Judson on Monday. 
“We will soon trace the persons who are part of the smuggling network,” he said.

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The New Indian Express