Increasing number of drug peddlers challenges cops

In a bid to counter the criminal intelligence of peddlers, the Kochi City police have set up an anti-narcotic analysis cell exclusively to handle the drug menace.

Published: 15th February 2020 06:53 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th February 2020 06:53 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

KOCHI: While the city is witnessing an increase in the inflow of narcotic substances in an alarming trend, the number of drug peddlers is also going up despite the stringent enforcement activities, according to police. On average, the Kochi City police arrest 300 persons every month in connection with drug cases, according to the officers. Youth, students and migrant workers in the city were arrested on charges of supplying drugs.

Twenty-two-year-old Solagar Sahani, a native of Bihar, was arrested by the District Anti-Narcotic Special Action Force (Dansaf) after days-long surveillance with six kilograms of ganja worth Rs 12 lakh on Tuesday. According to the police, Sahani, who is known as ‘Dada Bhai’ in the Ambalamedu area, was involved in drug sales even in busy areas and used to bring 20kg of ganja to Kochi via trains twice a month.

From the enforcement activities carried out by the City police’s Dansaf, it is evident the inflow of the contraband is going up. The sleuths have seized 30kg of ganja and synthetic drugs worth lakhs of rupees in the first 10 days of this month.

Anti-narcotic analysis cell

In a bid to counter the criminal intelligence of peddlers, the Kochi City police have set up an anti-narcotic analysis cell exclusively to handle the drug menace.

“We have deployed 100 personnel exclusively to deal with the narcotic cases. In every police station, there is a 20-member team under a sub inspector to handle the drug cases. Besides, the anti-narcotic analysis cell is headed by an assistant commissioner,” said City Police Commissioner Vijay Sakhare. Right now, the cell is functioning in the commissioner’s office. Deputy Commissioner of Police G Poonguzhali is monitoring the activities of the cell. The squad has been directed to continue enforcement activities even if there are no major hauls.

“The narcotic substances are coming from outside the state to Kochi. The number of peddlers is going up,” Sakhare added. “The police arrest 250 to 300 persons in cases related to drugs every month. The number of persons arrested is all only a tip of the iceberg and we aim to identify the sources of drugs,” he said. In view of the serious nature of drug menace, the City police have launched a campaign titled ‘Drug-Free Kochi’.

10,907 Number of cases registered for sale of gutka and pan masala in the state

Prison inmates managing drug trade?

During questioning, Jomon revealed that the drug peddling and distribution were being carried out on the instructions of inmates in central jails. “He said the information about the source of the ganja and person to whom it should be delivered are given by these inmates. We will investigate his claim. If it’s true, it will be a turning point in the drug hunt,” said Shibu. He said the squad will also probe how Rishad was sourcing nitrazepam tablets, a prescription drug, in huge quantities. “We will be investigating how Rishad was sourcing the tablets and whether some medical store was supplying the tablets to him illegally,” Shibu said. Preventive officer K S Pramod, civil excise officers P X Ruben, S Sidhartha Kumar, K V Vipindas, K K Rajesh and Manoj formed the team that nabbed the duo.

Two youths held with ganja

Kochi: Two youngsters were arrested by Kalamassery police on Friday for possessing ganja at a night party in the city. Arun, 26, and Prasobh, 30, natives on Malappuram, were arrested at around 12.30am at Palliamkara with 3.6 kg of ganja. The accused were produced at the court and later remanded.

Thrissur man arrested for possessing 2.1kg ganja

Kochi: A Thrissur native was arrested for possessing 2.1kg of ganja. The arrested is Anzil, 37. The Ernakulam Excise officials arrested him from the KSRTC bus stand premises where he had come to sell the ganja. According to Ernakulam Excise CI Tenimon, Anzil used to source ganja from Andhra Pradesh. “He used to sell it across Kerala. However, he hasn’t revealed the identity of the buyer,” said Tenimon. Anzil was produced before the court and placed in remand.

Notorious drug peddlers nabbed

Kochi: Two persons, said to be the major drug peddlers in Kochi, were nabbed with ganja and nitrazepam tablets on Thursday. A team led by Excise Enforcement and Anti-Narcotic special squad CI B L Shibu arrested Jomon, 38, of Kunnel house, Amaravathy, Fort Kochi, and Rishad, 29, of Chaneparambu house, Kadebhagam, Palluruthy. Jomon, who had been secretly living at Pambaimoola, was caught with 750g of ganja. Upon questioning him, the squad found that Rishad assisted him in peddling ganja. The officials then picked up the latter and seized several nitrazepam tablets from his possession. Shibu said the duo had been under surveillance for several months.  “Jomon is convicted in several police and Excise cases and has served jail time. He resumes the drug sale once he is out,” he said. Shibu said people living near his house had installed CCTV cameras for their protection.

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