How Kerala cops busted Congo ‘Captain’ & his narco kitchen

He was also snared from his den by a special investigation team led by Ernakulam police chief Vaibhav Saxena.
Representative image
Representative image

KOCHI: Often is the case that even after major hauls, officials are unable to make significant dents to the drugs racket as their kingpin remains ever elusive. Thankfully, that’s not what transpired in a recent operation conducted by the Ernakulam Rural Police.

It helped nab Regnar Paul, a Congo national who ‘cooked’ MDMA from a ramshackle ‘laboratory’ in Bengaluru and supplied it to cities in South India. He was also snared from his den by a special investigation team led by Ernakulam police chief Vaibhav Saxena.

The whole operation began with the arrest of Vipin John, a 27-year-old Karunagapally native, for smuggling 200gm of MDMA (worth approximately `10 lakh) at Angamaly on May 3. The Thoppumpady resident was returning to Kochi after producing the drugs when the police intercepted the bus he was on.

Vipin, who was initially uncooperative with the questioning, slowly disclosed crucial information about the operations of the drug racket he was part of. His WhatsApp chats too were scrutinised, which eventually helped the officials narrow down on the presence of an ‘African Kitchen’ in Bengaluru with ties to the international drug trafficking mafia.

Though the information was scant, the gravity of the problem led chief Vaibhav Saxena to constitute a special investigation team (SIT) to capture the entire peddler lineup. The adventurous second phase starts here.

After realising that the drugs originated from an African native staying in Bengaluru, the SIT launched a covert operation. A team headed by Lal Kumar, the inspector of Angamaly police station, went to Bengaluru to zero in on the suspect.

Later, after analysing Vipin’s digital records, police found that the man they were after was Regnar Paul, a 29-year-old who goes by the name ‘Captain’ in the drug peddlers’ circle. An officer part of the team that was tracking Regnar said it was a difficult track to trace him digitally as he often relied on public WiFis and calls via the Telegram app.

“While the surveillance was on, the squad stayed in Bengaluru for seven days to identify the location of the accused by seeking the help of local intelligence and police. We also sought the help of shopkeepers to monitor his daily movement,” the officer says.

After days of surveillance, an approximate location was found. Later, the location of Paul was confirmed after monitoring the IP addresses tracked based on his internet usage. Now, with the target on their radar and locked on, the special squad collaborated with Bengaluru Police and arrested the Congo native from a place near Madiwala, Bengaluru.

It is learned that Regnar came to Bengaluru on a three-year student visa in 2014. After being admitted to a tutorial college, he turned to drug peddling and later, to chemical drug preparation. Being a skilled ‘cook’, he quickly rose to the rank of a ‘Captain’. By supplying drugs for free, Regnar is responsible for pushing many students into addiction, says an officer.

“They explore new markets by supplying drugs in small quantities to prominent peddlers. Later, Regnar’s men independently start trade in the area. Their modus operandi was seeking money in advance via digital platforms and then hiding the drugs in deserted places for their customers to find,” the officer adds.

Ernakulam police chief Vaibhav Saxena was all praise for the SIT team. He says, “Their fast and thorough moves resulted in the arrest of a drug mafia kingpin. With this, we have demolished a core link of the synthetic drug mafia to central Kerala.”

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