Africans, local cartels tie up to push drugs along state’s West Coast

An investigation by enforcement agencies has established the activities of African nationals in the movement of large consignments of drugs from Mumbai and Goa to Kerala via road.

KOZHIKODE: The west coast of Kerala mainly the districts of Kasargod, Kannur, Kozhikode and Malappuram is becoming a hotbed for drug trafficking run by local drug cartels in association with African nationals. As per the latest report of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), 97 African nationals including Nigerians were arrested from southern states of the country between January 2014 and June 2017 indicating a strong presence of African nationals in the drug trade which basically focuses on lucrative high-value drugs like methaqualone, cocaine and heroin.

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Investigation by enforcement agencies like Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has already established the activities of African nationals in movement of large consignments of drugs from Mumbai and Goa to Kerala via road. 
Intelligence officers say around 60 per cent of heroin and other drugs like LSD are being pumped in by African cartels who have strong links with South American drug cartels.
Though only six Africans were arrested for drug trafficking in Kerala between January 2014 and June 2017, the number of arrests was high in Goa (55) followed by Karnataka (20), Tamil Nadu (10) and Andhra Pradesh (six). 


“The worrysome factor is the African nationals jailed for drug trafficking use their stay in jails for establishing a strong network with the other local inmates. Once they are out on bail or on completion of the sentence, they get back into drug trafficking with the help of the local criminals,” said NCB superintendent Venugopal G Kurup. Police officers say the easy availability of precursor chemicals like ephedrine for processing cocaine from cocoa paste attracts African cartels to India. The Kerala Police were able to bust the tip of a big drug racket operating in the state when two Nigerian nationals were arrested from a flat near Kaloor, Kochi in December 2016 for possesing cocaine.

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