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Palakkad ganja seizure exposes Aluva drug racket

Gang used buses transporting migrants as cover to smuggle contraband, probe reveals

Published: 24th September 2021 06:12 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th September 2021 06:12 AM   |  A+A-

drugs, substance abuse

For representational purposes.

By Express News Service

KOCHI: The seizure of 150kg of ganja from a bus carrying migrant workers from West Bengal in Palakkad last week has exposed a big racket based in Aluva involved in inter-state drug smuggling. Taking advantage of the lockdown curbs imposed in the state earlier, the gang smuggled the contraband in vehicles transporting cattle, vegetables, bananas, fruits etc.

The government decision to bring back migrant workers turned a boon to smugglers who took up the contract to transport the drugs. Cannabis was hidden in mini-buses transporting workers from their states. However, their luck ran out with excise sleuths seizing 150kg of ganja in Palakkad.

Six persons from Aluva including Salam, 47, owner of the vehicle, have been arrested. Salam surrendered before the Aluva excise circle inspector on September 17. During his interrogation, the sleuths received evidence of the role of the Aluva racket.

The gang has chosen the time of lockdown restrictions imposed after the second wave of Covid swept the state for smuggling in large quantities. “They struck deals with ganja traders in Andhra Pradesh after arriving there in the guise of cattle traders and fruits and vegetable merchants. When the government decided to bring back migrant workers, they took up the contract to transport them and smuggled ganja under this cover,” said an officer.

“The gang procured the drug from Kakkinada in Andhra Pradesh. As they bought the cannabis in wholesale, they could get one kilogram for Rs 1,000 to Rs 3,000. Thus, they could get a profit of up to `15,000 by selling it in retail in the state,” the officer added.

“More persons including the kingpin of the racket will be caught in the coming days,” said Aluva Excise CI G Krishnakumar,  adding that the arrested persons were a small fry in the racket. Ganja peddling using migrant workers is rampant in Aluva and Perumbavoor areas, said excise officials.



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