Thoothukudi police heave sigh of relief after capturing key ganja smuggler

Thoothukudi police arrested the alleged kingpin of ganja smuggling G Aaron Rajesh (34) of Trespuram, who had been absconding for over a year.
Image used for illustrative purposes only. (Express Illustrations)
Image used for illustrative purposes only. (Express Illustrations)

THOOTHUKUDI:  The Thoothukudi police heaved a sigh of relief after capturing the alleged kingpin of ganja smuggling G Aaron Rajesh (34) of Trespuram, who had been absconding for over a year even after the Madurai police had exposed his secret hoarding place at Sathankulam on May 9, 2023.

The Prohibition Enforcement Wing (PEW) sleuths, headed by special team Sub Inspector Ravi Kumar, had arrested 16 suspects and seized 228 kg of ganja, two cars, and two bikes used in the crime, at Pudur Pandiyapuram toll plaza on August 28.

According to sources, some of the prominent ganja peddlers include Aaron of Trespuram, C Mookandi alias Raja (30) who is also the son of PMK district party president, and BJP advocate wing functionary advocate Manikandan (38) of Sathankulam, besides two women Shibani (31) who is Aaron's wife, and a law student E Srimathi Indira Gandhi (23). Two persons - J Thirumani Kumaran (27) and M Arunkumar (28), were planted at Kurukusalai on the Madurai-Thoothukudi national highway, to inform Aaron about the presence of police at Pudur Pandiyapuram toll plaza, an investigation revealed. All the occupants of the car, including the two women, had already known they were smuggling the ganja under their seat, said a police officer privy to the investigation.

The Madurai Essential Commodities court had remanded all 16 persons until September 2. Aaron was also the key accused in a case of hoarding 2,090 kg of ganja at Velan Pudukulam village near Sathankulam during May this year, which was seized by the Madurai police in a predawn search on May 9, based on a tip-off received by Keerathurai SI.

Aaron was also named in the FIRs related to the recent confiscation of 600 kg of ganja at the Kayathar toll plaza and 120 kg of ganja decked in a fish truck at Gandhinagar near Tiruchendur. "The accused arrested in the cases of bulk confiscation are all associates of Aaron, who illegally hoarded and deported ganja to Sri Lanka on country craft boats," said a top official privy to the investigation.

"S Vijayakumar (36) of State Bank Colony, a companion of Aaron, who was arrested at Kayathar toll plaza while smuggling 600 kg of ganja, is good at smuggling the contraband substances on fibre boats," the officer added.
 
When asked about the modus operandi of smuggling ganja, a police officer said they plant two persons a few kilometres before toll plazas, to inform the presence of police or vehicle inspection. "They cross the plaza based on this information, the officer revealed. Vijayakumar and Aaron were once fishermen who later switched to this illegal business and roped in all their contacts," the officer said, adding that they have arrested almost all the key ganja smugglers who hoard large quantities of ganja in the district and that only a few remain.  

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