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Major drug racket using air cargo courier busted in Gujarat, four held

The main accused, identified as 27-year-old Vandit Patel, with the help of his aide Parth Sharma (32), had contacted US-based drug suppliers through the dark web.

Published: 22nd November 2021 10:14 PM  |   Last Updated: 22nd November 2021 10:14 PM   |  A+A-

Drugs

For representational purposes (Express Illustrations)

By PTI

AHMEDABAD: Gujarat police have arrested four persons over a period of one week and busted a major drug racket in which dealers from Ahmedabad had imported 100 kilograms of drugs, including cocaine, from the US as well as other parts of the country through air cargo courier in the last two years, an official said on Monday.

The main accused, identified as 27-year-old Vandit Patel, with the help of his aide Parth Sharma (32), had contacted US-based drug suppliers through the dark web and paid them Rs 4 crore in cryptocurrencies to obtain drugs, Ahmedabad district Superintendent of Police Virendrasingh Yadav said.

While Patel, who owns a salon in posh South Botal area of the city, and Sharma were held on November 17 with drugs worth Rs 3.5 lakh, two alleged peddlers, identified as Vipal Goswami and Jil Parate, were nabbed on Monday, said Yadav.

While Patel did a hotel management course from Singapore in 2017-18, Goswami has an MBA from London in 2016, police said.

"Vandit Patel became an addict in 2012 and has considerable knowledge of drugs and their effect on the body. Two years ago, he entered this illegal trade and started obtaining drugs through air cargo from the US, the Netherlands, as well as Mumbai and Himachal Pradesh. He used to import high-end expensive party drugs such as cocaine, hybrid ganja, American charas, shatter, MDMA and magic mushrooms," Yadav informed.

"To dodge the authorities, the senders used to declare the drugs as something else. A special kind of packing material used by US based drug suppliers led to it going undetected during Customs checks at airports. In all, he managed to obtain 100 kilograms of drugs in the last two years, paying nearly Rs 10 crore, including Rs 4 crore in cryptocurrencies," the SP added.

Patel had used over 50 addresses in various cities of Gujarat and Rajasthan to take nearly 300 drug deliveries, zeroing in on houses where no one was staying for long.

"When a parcel got returned, Patel used its tracking ID to contact the delivery person. Patel has even sent drugs from the US to his connections in China and New Zealand," Yadav said.

Alleging laxity in the ongoing probe into seizure of drugs at various places in Gujarat, the Congress on Monday demanded setting up of an inquiry commission under a sitting High Court judge to investigate these cases, including the seizure of 2,988 kg of heroin at the Mundra port.

A delegation led by Gujarat Congress president Amit Chavda and Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, Paresh Dhanani, has called on Governor Acharya Devvrat at Raj Bhavan in Gandhinagar and handed him a memorandum seeking his intervention to forming the inquiry commission.

Congress leaders have alleged that though heroin and other contraband worth thousands of crores have been seized from different parts of Gujarat in recent months, the BJP government was not taking any "concrete action" against the entire racket as those in the government are "hand in glove" with the perpetrators.

In the memorandum, the opposition party cited the seizure of nearly 3,000 kg of heroin worth Rs 21,000 crore at the Mundra port in September, followed by the recovery of heroin and meth worth over Rs 1,000 crore by the Gujarat police and the ATS this month.

Congress demanded strict action to "control the drugs network" to save the next generation, claiming that drugs are being sold "openly" on college campuses across Gujarat.

Though the drugs are being dumped in Gujarat through the sea route with the help of foreign nationals, the coastal security has been left "to the mercy of God", Congress said.

"Gujarat's coastline is 1,640 km long and has 144 small islands near it. More importantly, our shores are close to Pakistan. Despite that, there are only 22 marine police stations and three interceptor boats to guard this vast coastline. Due to the lack of adequate security, Gujarat's coast has become a haven for drug mafia," the memorandum said.

It further alleged that "corrupt practices" of the BJP dispensation has helped drug mafias in expanding their network in Gujarat.

Gujarat Minister of State for Home, Harsh Sanghavi, had refuted these charges claiming that the seizure of such a large quantity of drugs proves that the police and other agencies are doing their work with commitment, as the contraband was unearthed before it reached the masses.



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