Written byGogona Saikia
Amid a hard stance adopted by the Goa government, there has been a steep increase in registration of drug cases.
In contrast to the 36 cases of 2016, as many as 136 cases were registered in 2017, almost a 400% increase.
Drugs seized in raids were worth Rs. 2.84cr, said anti-narcotics cell (ANC) SP Umesh Gaonkar.
Of the foreigners arrested, 80% were Nigerians.
The Parrikar government has cracked down on not just drugs, but other practices too, including public drinking.
In 2017, it said it's working towards prohibiting locals' entry into casinos and was cracking down on illegal gambling and prostitution.
Police had also been instructed to shut down "late-night" parties after 10pm which are not part of Goa's culture, according to Minister Vinod Palyekar.
Last year, police arrested 172 drug peddlers under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS). Sixty of them were Goans, 79 non-Goans and 26 foreigners. The most commonly seized drugs were ganja, charas, cocaine, MDMA, LSD, heroin, amphetamine, ketamine and DMT.
In the last five years, foreigners from South Africa, Russia, Israel, USA, Ghana, Germany, Sudan, Nepal and UK have been arrested in the drug trade.
Foreigners mostly import synthetic drugs which are in high demand during rave parties.
Gaonkar added that most of these foreigners had arrived in Goa via the Dabolim airport. Authorities are now discussing more efficient checking mechanisms for the airport.
Meanwhile, the locals arrested "are mostly addicts and get into the trade to earn more money," while non-Goans arrested generally come from outside to work and earn. They get drugs from Tamil Nadu, Himachal Pradesh and Odisha.
Some of the most notorious cases include the arrest Edwin Nunes, owner of Curlies, and Rohan Shetty, owner of Club Nyex, both popular shacks on Anjuna beach.
Narcotics were found on several waiters and guests.
At Calangute, another trendy tourist beach, 31 cases were registered last year, up from just 16 in 2014, 2015 and 2016. Thirty-two people were arrested in 2017.
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