VISAKHAPATNAM: As the Police Department is strengthening its enforcement teams to curb the illegal ganja trade, the smugglers are trying to outwit them by resorting to ingenious methods. The smugglers are now concealing the hemp in sofa sets and shifting them to Delhi, West Bengal and Karnataka. This is for the first time in the coastal AP, the police have stumbled upon such a case on Sunday night.
Much to the shock of the officials of Excise and Prohibition Department, they found around 160 kg of dried ganja packet stuffed in a sofa set at Sagar Nagar on Sunday night. Two people were arrested in the case including Mohammed Asif, member of a Delhi-based gang.
Acting on a tip-off, the police nabbed the smugglers. Sources said that posing as a sofa maker, Asif took a house on rent in the city four months ago and allegedly procured ganja from the interior areas of Visakhapatnam Agency for ` 3,000 to `4,000 a kg. But, in Delhi, it is sold for `10,000 a kg. Now, the police suspect Asif’s involvement in several such cases. The smugglers were trying to transport weed concealed in two sofas to Delhi from Sagar Nagar and all set to book a lorry to shift the contraband.
“The contraband was stuffed in packets tightly with tapes to form a layer, replacing the space for cushions. Again, a thin cushion was placed on it before the sofa seating layer was stitched carefully,” said a senior officer of the enforcement team, while explaining the detailed modus operandi. He said that following this method, smugglers based out of the national capital were using lorry transport services and trains to transport ganja to other states too. “We have seen many ingenious methods of smugglers. A few smuggle hemp even by posh vehicles and some even prepare fabricated boxes.