KOCHI: The Excise Crime Branch team, which is probing the seizure of over 1,100gm of synthetic drug MDMA from a serviced apartment in Vazhakala, is on a trail of the funds used to procure the drugs. Even though the accused persons had claimed that they bought the MDMA for Rs 1.2 lakh, the investigation team believes they were receiving financial aid from others who have to be identified.
Soon after taking over the probe, the Crime Branch had collected the bank account details of the accused. “The seized MDMA is worth around Rs 12-13 crore. We checked the accused’s bank account statements and found that there had been withdrawals of Rs 40,000-50,000 on several occasions in the last month. But their banking activities don’t reveal the transfer or withdrawal of huge funds. As per our estimate, the accused must have spent at least Rs 50 lakh to get the MDMA. They were in contact with some business persons, whom we suspect supported them financially to procure the drugs. We will question them to get further details,” an officer said.
Excise officials said they were not ruling out funding and transactions using bitcoin. “The bitcoin aspect has to be explored further during the probe. Also, it has to be checked if the transaction was a credit-based deal in which money is paid to the main supplier after the drugs are sold in retail quantity to the customers,” an officer said.
According to excise officials, the accused persons have been misleading the investigators from the initial stage of the probe. “As per their statement, Sreemon contributed Rs 50,000, Muhammad Favas gave `30,000, and another Rs 40,000 was arranged by Afsal Muhammad and Ajmal. They say they bought MDMA from one ‘annachi’ in Pondicherry. This is a cooked up story. The accused had procured MDMA from Chennai in a large quantity. They named a few people from Chennai, but our probe revealed those were fake names,” the official added.
Based on the details received after examining their mobile phones, the probe team found the gang regularly conducted rave parties in Kochi, Wayanad, Kozhikode, and Kannur. “They were constantly moving from one place to another. During their travel, they supplied drugs to customers. They also organised rave parties on request of their customers,” the official said.
Meanwhile, the Judicial First Class Magistrate in Kochi remanded five accused — Favas, Sreemon, Ajmal, Afsal and Shabna — on the expiry of excise custody on Monday. One of the accused tested Covid positive.