Slum kids lured into peddling drugs in the city

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Guwahati connection revealed in Manipur ‘World is Yours’ bust

Avishek Sengupta | April 11, 2018 19:27 hrs

The seizure of a consignment of the synthetic drug called “World Is Yours” (WY) in Manipur which was en route to different metropolises in the country has a link with Guwahati. 

 “Though WY sells in Manipur like hot cakes, about 50,000 tablets were supposed to have been sent to Guwahati from where the consignment would have proceeded to Mumbai and Bangalore by train,” said an official of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). 

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI), in a joint operation with Assam Rifles, seized 3,20,000 tablets of WY, weighing  36.5 kgs on April 2 at Tengnoupal, an Indo-Myanmar border town of Manipur. The consignment, which is estimated to be worth Rs 16 crores and was smuggled from Myanmar to Manipur through Moreh, was supposed destined for a hideout at Lilong in the border state.

WY is a customised variant of Methamphetamine which is manufactured by reacting with a common cold drug named Pseudoephedrine Hydrochloride as precursor chemical. 

The consignment was being transported from Myanmar in a bus hidden in a secret chamber under the driver’s seat. The driver, Mohammad Illiyas Khan, was booked under sections of the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act 1985.

Interrogation revealed that Khan was part of a bigger drug cartel that had linkmen throughout the country.

“Earlier, the WY and other synthetic drugs were smuggled by the operatives of the defunct and less powerful insurgency organisations of Manipur and the consignments were mostly consumed in Manipur and other northeast states. But this time, the interrogation revealed that a separate cartel is involved. They have linkmen throughout the country. Their names are not revealed to any of the operatives. They address each other by the first two numbers of the PIN code of the city,” the source said.

Earlier, G Plus had reported on the wide range of narcotics available in Guwahati. The city’s location lends itself vulnerable to supply of drugs from different destinations including the mainland and neighbouring countries. Seizures have proved that Guwahati has emerged as the transit point for many gangs and cartels. 

The possibility of wide proliferation of synthetic drugs like WY cannot be ruled out since it is easier to produce in laboratories which are portable and not dependent on the supply of opium like Heroin.

"There is no laboratory in the northeast that processes the potent methamphetamine in crystal form to these customised drugs. It is being done mostly in the Golden triangle of South East Asia. Guwahati acts both as a transit point and a market for these pseudoephedrines. The potent methamphetamine comes from hubs in the Golden Crescent and in smaller quantities from Punjab, Gujarat and Haryana and via Guwahati, it goes to Manipur and Mizoram. From there it is smuggled to Myanmar where it is processed in illegal laboratories,” the source said.

"A large section of methamphetamine is also produced in Laos and Vietnam area which are processed in Myanmar and then sold in India. Guwahati is at the receiving end for these drugs," added the source.


Slum kids lured into peddling drugs in the city

Kids between the ages of 14 and 17 years with petty-crime records are being recruited to peddle drugs by drug cartels operating in the city, police revealed.

According to police sources, the primary targets of these cartels are the rag-pickers residing in the slums of the city.

“These children mostly peddle the cheaper variant of drugs and psychedelic substances such as Brown Sugar (an adulterated version of Heroin), Number 4, Phensidyl cough syrup etc. The slums at Adabari and Athgaon are the most prone areas,” the source said.

The Number 4 that comes here is an adulterated form of heroin made in injectible form by mixing a solvent with it. 

Talking about the modus operandi, the police official said, “Laws are more liberal for the juveniles due to which kids below the age of 17 years are being targeted.

Whenever, these kids get arrested on any crime related cases, the people from the cartels pay for the bail. Once the children feel that they indebted to these peddlers, they are asked to peddle the cartel’s products.”

Brown Sugar is being smuggled in small 10 gm plastic vials which are mostly used by homeopathic doctors. Each vial costs Rs 1,500- Rs 2,000. The Number 4, on the other hand, is being sold in loaded injections.

“The cost of one syringe containing 3.5 ml of Number 4 costs Rs 300. One unit of it is called point. Five points, that contains 17.5 ml of Number 4 and 10 Mg of adulterated heroin, costs Rs 1,500,” juvenile peddlers, who are being rehabilitated in a city-based rehabilitation centre after being caught for peddling Number-4, said.

Miguel Das Queah, a city-based child rights activist said, “According to a survey by the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) in 2014, there are at least 217 slums in the city that contain a total of minimum 26,000 households. Going by the UN standard replacement level fertility rate, if we assume that each household has 2 children, there are as many as 50,000 children residing in the slums in the city. It’s no surprise that they are falling prey to such rackets.”

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