NCB red-flags Mumbai as India's cocaine capital: Report
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has reportedly red-flagged Mumbai as the cocaine capital of India. According to Hindustan Times, 2,499 kilograms of cocaine seized in Sri Lanka, Port Elizabeth, and Panama over the past two years was supposed to be transported to India. It is also suspected that a drug cartel may shift its cocaine processing from South America to India.
Backtrack drug investigations have found that roughly 300 kg of cocaine (worth Rs. 1,500 crore in the international market) reached Mumbai in December 2018 through a syndicate with links in India, Australia, and Canada, top NCB officials told HT. The same syndicate was involved in the smuggling of 200 kg of methamphetamine from Canada to Australia, they told the publication.
Reportedly, roughly 20 kg of cocaine was seized in India, 29 kg of methamphetamine was recovered in the United States, and 55 kg of cocaine and 200 kg of methamphetamine were seized in Australia during the probe. Backtrack investigations of the 55 kg of cocaine seized in Australia in June 2019 led the NCB to uncover the syndicate bases in India.
The drug syndicate had reportedly floated fake companies to smuggle drugs and conceal them at Uttarakhand's Rudrapur. The NCB conducted raids in Rudrapur, Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Delhi. Overall, the NCB seized 20 kg of cocaine during these raids and arrested several people.
The drug syndicate was uncovered after it was found that an Indian internet protocol was involved in the smuggling of 200 kg of methamphetamine from Canada to Australia. The IP address was traced to Punjab resident Akshinder Singh Sodhi. He was arrested with 422 kg of cocaine in India. Meanwhile, the investigation into the 300 kg of cocaine in Mumbai led to other arrests.
Mastermind Harpal Singh (aliases Amrinder Chenna and Laadhi) and his associate Sandeep Deol were arrested in connection with the 300 kg of cocaine in Mumbai. Deol reportedly arranged all the paperwork and logistics in India. Other accused identified hail from both India and Canada.
Reportedly, there is growing suspicion that a drug cartel may shift its cocaine processing from South America to India. The United States Drug Enforcement Agency, the United Kingdom's National Crime Agency, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and Australian drug enforcement agencies have been putting pressure on South American coca-producing countries. India is notably one of the biggest manufacturers of potassium permanganate, a precursor chemical.
According to top NCB officials, no less than 300kg of cocaine (worth Rs. 1,500 crore in the international market) landed in Mumbai in December 2018 through a syndicate. This syndicate had links with Australia, Canada and India. Two arrests were made in connection with the case - mastermind Harpal Singh aka Amrinder Chenna aka Laadhi and his associate Sandeep Deol.