RAMANATHAPURAM: With the arrest of nine persons near Thondi on Wednesday night, the district police claimed to have busted a drug smuggling racket.
Superintendent of Police (SP) V Varun Kumar said that the suspects were trying to smuggle 11.4 kilograms of drugs from Afghanistan and 1.5 tonnes of red sanders from Chennai worth `7 crore to Sri Lanka through sea.
The arrest followed a tip-off received two weeks ago through the number of SP (9489919722) on drugs being smuggled from Afghanistan to Sri Lanka through Ujjain, Goa, Bengaluru, Coimbatore, Madurai and Thondi.
Acting on it, Tiruvadanai Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Pugalendi Ganesh, based on the orders of the SP, formed eight special teams. Based on the tip-off received again on Wednesday, a special team stopped an autorickshaw on the Govindamangalam - Moopaiyur Road around 7pm. The vehicle was allegedly heading to Tiruvadanai from Anandur. "Four men - auto driver M Abdul Rahim (49), G Aruldos (43), A Ajmal Khan (48) and A Kesavan (42) - were found in possession of various drugs including methamphetamine, amphetamine, methaqualone, opium paste, heroin and ecstasy tablets," said sources.
In the meantime, one of the two two-wheelers that followed the autorickshaw fled the scene while - two men R Muthu Raja (38) and S Suresh Kumar (44) - who were following the vehicle on another two-wheeler were also caught and questioned.
It was later learnt that Aruldos had received an advance of `2 lakh from one A Ajmeer Khan (42) to procure the drugs. The arrest was made when Aruldos along with the three others were one their way in an autorickshaw to sell the drugs to three persons - Ajmeer Khan (42) D Abdul Wahab (36) and J Abul Kalam Azad (23) - waiting in a car at Arasur. The trio who was waiting in the car had planned to ship the drugs as well as 1.5 tonnes of red sanders that they had brought from Chennai with the help of Aruldos to Sri Lanka through sea from Thondi.
The nine men were booked under section 34 of Indian Penal Code and under sections 120B, 17 (c), 22 (c), 23 (c), 25 and 29 (1) of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.