Over the last few years, India seems to be coming up as a popular drug destination with usage common among teens and young adults. And on Thursday, April 26, the directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) and narcotics control bureau (NCB) seized about 3 kg cocaine from a Portuguese national at Chennai airport.
The seized cocaine is said to be worth about Rs 9 crore in the international market and was being smuggled to Chennai in a UPS-like electrical equipment from Brazil. The accused initially denied carrying the drugs but the cocaine was found when the officials checked his luggage.
"Though the passenger initially denied having carried the drugs, on persistent questioning and scanning of his check-in baggage he admitted that the baggage contained 3 kg of cocaine," the Deccan Chronicle quoted a statement from the DRI Chennai unit as saying.
"On opening the baggage, the officers had found an electrical appliance in cardboard packing, appearing to be a UPS. The officers opened the device and removed the Copper coil and adhesive tape and found 3 kg of cocaine in 6 packets."
While the accused wasn't identified by the officials, sources told The Daily that he was a Portuguese man named Dais Coimdra Lourenco. The 35-year-old has now been arrested, but he is yet to reveal who he was supposed to deliver the drugs to.
Meanwhile, such incidents have regularly been making news in the country and the Delhi police had recently seized 29 kg heroin worth Rs 125 crore in the capital city. Four people in the gang were arrested out of which one was from Nigeria and two from Afghanistan.
The Delhi police's special cell is said to have received a tip-off that few people from Kashmir were visiting the capital city and giving out consignments of heroin to people of Afghan origin, who now live in India. These Afghans would then send the consignments to Europe.
"The entire network of international narco-syndicate originated from Afghanistan and terminated in Europe through Nigerian traffickers with its trail through Pakistan, J&K and Delhi as a transit point," the Press Trust of India quoted DCP (Special Cell) PS Kushwah as saying.
India, drug trade, and abuse
The north Indian state of Punjab may be known for things like open fields, colorful festivals and extremely warm and welcoming people, but it clearly has a dark side to it in the form of rampant drug abuse. The neighboring nation of Pakistan is said to have cashed in on this abuse quite well, even with numerous restrictions in place.
Smugglers have now reportedly been taking the help of trained divers to smuggle drugs into the state. These divers transport the drugs through the 35-kilometer long rivers that flow through the Ferozpur, Gurdaspur, and Amritsar areas, reported the Times of India.
Intelligence officers had earlier explained that these divers were trained professionals who used high-end diving gears and were well-versed with the waters of Satluj and Ravi rivers. It was also revealed that all communication was done through WhatsApp, which is a safe mode as the app features end-to-end encryption.
According to a 2015 study commissioned by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, 89 percent of drug addicts in the state of Punjab are literate and about 83 percent even have proper jobs. Heroin is said to be the most common drug in the state and an addict spends about Rs 1,400 a day on it.
As per another survey by the women and child development department, Mizoram, Manipur, Goa, and Mumbai may have a substantial number of addicts, the capital New Delhi isn't far behind. Children as young as nine are said to be drug consumers and these could be in any form such as heroin, inhalants, and pharmaceutical drugs.
In the year 2017, a scandal blew the lid off the city of pearls – Hyderabad. Famous for its historical monuments, the necklace road the much-talked-about biryani, of course, the city also emerged to be a city with rampant drug racket and what drives the trade.
The city hit headlines July 2017, when a few people were arrested by the Excise personnel with 700 dots of Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD) worth Rs 20 lakh and 35gm of Methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA) worth Rs 1.4 lakh.
Such is the network that it even managed to penetrate the Telugu film industry as well as schools and colleges in the city. In fact, school children are said to be hooked on LSD and some of the users are as young as 13.
The conversation between these young users and their dealers is truly worrisome. "I liked the drug. It gave me a nearly 12-hour high. I want more, can u arrange?" read one of the chats, according to Times Now.
And these schoolchildren who couldn't pay for the drugs in cash even traded nude selfies with peddlers.