Ganja smugglers use women as ‘safe couriers’ to hoodwink cops in Visakhapatnam

Tribal women from poor financial background take up the job for easy money, say officials

VISAKHAPATNAM: Despite crackdown on the ganja smuggling, the kingpins are now resorting to various methods to hoodwink the police. Indigent women from Vizag Agency are being hired for transporting the contraband to other states. These women are being paid Rs 40,000 to Rs 50,000 per month to transport the hemp to places like Chennai and Benguluru, say sources in the police department.

The women from poor financial background in Visakhapatnam Agency like G Madugula, Anakapalle, Chintapalle, Chodavaram and Narsipatnam take up the job of couriers for easy money. Moreover, the women of the families of petty smugglers also opt for the job.
“Wife of a smuggler from Madugula and a close aide of another kingpin of the illicit trade from Narsipatnam are actively involved in roping in women,” a senior police official said on the condition of anonymity.
He said the women smugglers use public transport like buses and trains to ferry the contraband in moderate amounts.

“They do not use any special vehicles or escorts. They do not even carry huge quantity of ganja- maximum around 40 kg,” said the police officer.

Further, some women carry ganja of around 15 kg a day for three or four days to adjacent districts. It fetches them at least Rs 10,000 to Rs 15,000, added the officer.

A few women also carry small gunny bags stuffed with the contraband.

They pose as the commoner returning from the weekly shandies in the Agency area.

Citing a recent case, a member of the Task Force team of Prohibition and Excise department of Anakapalle said that a few women smuggled the weed from the Agency to Chennai for which they were paid around Rs 40,000.

As the Task Force focus on the male smugglers, the kingpins have adopted this new strategy. Though the law is equal for all motorists, women are often spared during the checking the baggage and the Inter-state gangs are making most of it to evade check-posts. Sources said that such women gangs also play a key role in supplying hemp to university and college campuses in AP and other states.

Further, women from neighbouring states like Odisha, West Bengal, Tamil Nadu and Telangana are also being used as couriers. Posing as tourists, they smuggle the contraband by cars. Last year, the excise officials nabbed a few women on the same charges.

“The women couriers use public transport and take care that they do not take a seat near the baggage. If at all the bags carrying ganja are caught, they silently escape without claiming them. We have found such cases in the past. With the increasing demand for ganja among the urban youth, the inter-state smugglers are resorting to such tactics,” ACP (Prohibition and Excise- Enforcement Wing) SVVN Babji told Express.

Lucrative trade

A40K to A50K Amount paid to women per month for transporting ganja
A15,000 A courier earns for transporting 15 kg of hemp
Couriers ferry small quantity of ganja using public transport
Women hired from Odisha, WB and TN pose as tourists and transport the contraband
They play vital role in supplying hemp to universities and college campuses
Kin of smugglers from Madugula and Narsipatnam roping in women for the trade

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