KOCHI: The smuggling of high-dose synthetic drugs, including LSD and MDMA, via courier service is posing a headache to enforcement agencies. For smugglers are using the channel frequently now. Repeated incidents of drugs parcelled through courier service reported in Kochi has put the police and the excise on high alert.Recently, the police arrested a Thrissur native staying at an apartment in Palarivattom, recovering 18 grams of MDMA — known as ecstasy — from him. The accused admitted that he procured ecstasy from New Delhi cheaply and that it was delivered via courier service. In March, 700 LSD stamps were seized from a gang in Kochi and that was also trafficked through the courier route.
Last month, three bottles of whiskey were seized from a parcel that arrived via Speed Post in Kochi.“Using the courier parcel route for the smuggling of drugs is increasing, especially with international and inter-state travel being restricted following the Covid outbreak last year and the subsequent lockdowns,” a senior excise officer told TNIE.Pointing out the limitation for the enforcement agencies, the officer said thousands of parcels come to a city like Kochi on a daily basis.
“Checking each parcel has several practical hindrances. Drugs like ecstasy and LSD are easily concealed in the parcel. But all agencies have taken the issue seriously resulting in more such incidents coming to light,” he said. Ernakulam Excise Circle Inspector Anwar Sadath said that courier service centres have been directed to report the arrival of suspicious parcels.
“We have given a set of directions to courier service agencies to identify parcels that may contain contraband. The smugglers adopt new methods frequently to continue with their operations. Once more parcels with drugs get detected, they will switch to a safer mode,” Sadath said.Police Anti-Narcotic Cell Assistant Commissioner Thomas K A said persons arrested with drugs sometimes mention the courier parcel route to divert the investigation.“To safeguard the original suppliers, the arrested person will claim that he received drugs via a courier parcel from an unidentified person who he met via social media or dark web. A thorough investigation is required in such cases so that the main supplier behind the case doesn’t go unidentified. But there are a number of drugs cases in which the delivery was made via some courier service,” Thomas said.
The Thrissur native who was arrested in Kochi with ecstasy claimed that he contacted the unknown supplier in New Delhi via Instagram and Snapchat. “Social media platforms are widely misused for drugs trade now. It has become easier to identify the supplier via these channels. The use of bitcoins is also getting popular for such illegal trade. Cybersecurity firms are monitoring these platforms and dark net to cut the root of the network,” said a police officer.