NCB Joint Op with Special Cell, Delhi Police Busts International Drug Trafficking Network

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In a major success against drug trafficking, the Operations Branch of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Headquarters, along with the Special Cell of Delhi Police, has successfully busted an international drug trafficking network involved in the trafficking of precursor chemicals. Three persons have been arrested in this operation and a massive seizure of 50kg of Pseudoephedrine has been made in Delhi.

This drug trafficking network was spread across India, New Zealand, Australia, and Malaysia. The drugs were being trafficked through air and sea cargo under the disguise of food products such as Health Mix Powder and Desiccated Coconut. The information regarding this operation was received from New Zealand customs authorities and Australian police, who discovered large quantities of Pseudoephedrine concealed in desiccated coconut powder being sent to their respective countries. The United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also provided inputs indicating Delhi as the source of these consignments.

Pseudoephedrine is used in the production of methamphetamine, which is in high demand globally and sells for a significant value in Australia and New Zealand. It is estimated that the seized pseudoephedrine could have fetched approximately 1.5 crore INR per kilogram in the international market.

To dismantle this transnational drug trafficking network, a joint team of the Delhi Police Special Cell and NCB was formed. This team conducted intensive technical and field surveillance for over four months, leading to vital information that the drug operatives were planning to send another consignment to Australia. Based on this intelligence, the Delhi Police Special Cell mounted 24-hour physical surveillance, which eventually led them to a godown in Basai Darapur, West Delhi.

On 15th February 2024, when the operatives were in the process of packing the pseudoephedrine in a cover consignment of multigrain food mix, the joint team conducted a raid and successfully recovered 50 kilograms of the drug. Three operatives, all hailing from Tamil Nadu, were arrested at the spot. During interrogation, these individuals revealed that they had sent a total of 45 consignments over the past three years, containing approximately 3500 kilograms of pseudoephedrine with an estimated value of over 2000 crore INR in the international market. The mastermind behind this operation, a Tamil film producer, is currently on the run, but efforts are underway to apprehend him and ascertain the exact source of the pseudoephedrine.

In its efforts to dismantle the entire network, the NCB has reached out to authorities in New Zealand and Australia to apprehend the operatives based in their respective countries.

Pseudoephedrine is a precursor chemical used in the production of methamphetamine, a highly addictive synthetic drug. While it has some legal uses, its possession, trade, export, and use are strictly regulated under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, 1985 in India. The illegal possession and trade of pseudoephedrine can attract a maximum punishment of up to 10 years of imprisonment.

This joint operation by the NCB and Delhi Police is a significant step towards curbing the menace of drug trafficking and ensuring a safer society for all.

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