Rave parties prove to be a bane for cops, Excise officers

Organisers change locations frequently and are now shifting to isolated islands in the state’s backwaters and to hilltops to evade raids.

TIRUVANANTHAPURAM : “Show me a 50-ft wall and I’ll show you a 51-ft ladder.”
Though former US Homeland Security secretary Janet Napolitano made the famous remarks to substantiate her stand why a border wall was not the answer to the US’ immigration problem, her words ring true closer home when it comes to curbing drug flow and use.Despite the police and Excise officers ramping up efforts to curb drug abuse in the state, its supply is still prevalent, even rising, in the state, thanks to rave parties which are being organised at remote places.While organisers of such parties frequently changed locations earlier, they have modified tactics with the times, by shifting their focus to isolated islands in the state’s backwaters and to hilltops for evading police raids. 

Top intelligence officers said some of the hilltop resorts and homestays in Pathanamthitta, Kottayam and Idukki, as well as a few lake resorts at Kottayam and Alappuzha, were currently under the surveillance of anti-narcotic squads.  Earlier this month, the police arrested three youths from a homestay in Munnar with 20 LSD ( lysergic acid diethylamide) stamps during a raid. The raid at Suryanelli near Munnar revealed the substances were to be supplied in a rave party scheduled at the homestay at midnight. 

This is just one of the cases. The special wing Excise had also seized five kg of methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA), or ‘ecstasy’, as it is popularly known. The substance is widely supplied at rave parties. Recently, the police arrested a youth for possessing Buprenorphine, a painkiller used by cancer patients, which was used to attain the ‘high’ at such parties. The information from Excise said rave parties were being conducted in the state secretly despite law enforcers raiding places in remote areas following tip-off. Excise sleuths said youths from well-off families were the primary target of such parties. 

In a new special enforcement drive by the state police titled ‘Operation Broken Window’, enforcers registered 16 cases under the NDPS (Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, 1985) in just one week following various raids at Thiruvananthapuram range, including Kollam and Pathanamthitta districts. A rave is an electronic music dance party that lasts all night and is notorious for rampant availability and use of high-end drugs, including cocaine and LSD stamps. 

Rave parties usually take place in dark rooms illuminated by laser lights, strobes and the like.
Raids on to curb such activities: Anti-narcotic squad IG (HQ) P Vijayan, the state head of the anti-narcotic squad, told Express the squad has already instructed all narcotic cells in the districts to be on the lookout for such parties being organised in remote areas. 

“It has come to our notice that private parties are being organised in some districts recently. While I was the Kochi range IG, a resort in Idukki hosted a rave party and the squad seized high variants of drugs.” 
“Such parties are under our surveillance. Besides event organisers, individual parties are also being conducted by some 10 to 15-member groups. They chose hilltops and remote areas to evade police raids. But we have instructed police teams to rein in such practices,” Vijayan said. 

How rave parties are organised: 
* Drug peddlers create a Facebook or WhatsApp group 
* A new person is added to the group only after introduction by an existing member
* Once added, the person is sent a link to the online site where they can place an order citing the type and quantity of narcotics or psychotropic drugs required
* The party organisers normally charge Rs 10,000 or more as entry fee alone
WhatsApp groups active
Some of the WhatsApp groups actively involved in supplying drugs are ‘Casino Nights’, ‘Heaven For Earth’ and ‘A Walk in the Cloud’.

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