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Delhi: The new global heroin hub

Amit MUKHERJEE

Monday 5 July 2004

NEW DELHI: Few people react as speedily to geopolitical developments as the drug mafia. Increased surveillance on people and consignments from Afghanistan, Pakistan and adjoining countries in the Golden Crescent had threatened to deal a crippling blow to the narcotics trade.

But they’ve now found a new way to reach junkies in Europe, Africa and the US. And the hub of this new route is Delhi.

According to sources in the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), packets of high-grade heroin are being lobbed into India from Pakistan, across the barbed wire fencing running along the border.

These consignments, thrown under cover of darkness, are later collected by peddlers. DRI sleuths say even local farmers are being roped in.

"Some time back, one of the packets got stuck in the inaccessible spots of the high fence," said a DRI official. Sleuths began tracking the consignments, and found that they typically head for Delhi, from where they are routed to international destinations via foreign peddlers.

On Friday, the DRI seized one consignment in Delhi, containing 8 kg of 90 per cent pure heroin, valued at Rs 8 crore.

Despite American efforts to stamp out opium cultivation in Afghanistan, the country has had a bumper crop. Coupled with increased checks on cargo and people from this region, this has resulted in a drop in prices of heroin. Graded heroin like ’888’, ’Elephant’ and ’5555’ are being sold at a maximum of Rs 50,000 per kg.

However, once they cross the Indian border, the prices shoot up to about 2 lakh a kilogram, and the payments are facilitated though organised hawala channels.

P.S.

in The Times of India, Monday, July 05, 2004.

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