Officials claim it is an indicator that the drug market is flourishing in the city
15 people were arrested in 8 cases.
Delhi itself is one of the biggest consumers of drugs.
Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport – the busiest in the country – is not only the top choice for travellers but also for drug smugglers. According to officials, Delhi airport has become the transit point of drug trade as more than 19 people have been arrested from here till date, which is almost double from last year’s corresponding period.
Officials claim it is an indicator that the drug market is flourishing in the city and that there are good incentives given by the drug mafia which pulls so many into this risky business.
Narcotics Control Bureau’s (NCB) records show that 15 people were arrested in eight cases for smuggling 18.05kg of cocaine till July this year while in 2016, only two cases were registered and 215 grams of the drug was seized. Similarly, NCB officials seized 14.44kg of methaqualone and arrested three people till July while in previous year, a total of 17 kg of narcotic substance was recovered and three were arrested.
Despite constant vigil and action against drug traffickers by multiple agencies such as Customs, NCD, DRI, Immigration, CISF and the Delhi Police, the number of seizures in the city have only grown. In most of these cases, foreign nationals were involved but a recent case has left security agencies puzzled as Customs officials seized nearly 2kg of a morphine mixture from a food trolley while it was being wheeled out of an Air India flight. Officials suspect an inside job behind it but the incident exposed deeprooted nexus of drug smugglers with airport staff and officials. No arrest has been made yet. However, investigators are trying to find how the drug reached inside the plane despite having several security checks.
DELHI IS THE BIGGEST CONSUMER OF DRUGS
“Delhi itself is one of the biggest consumers of drugs. Its proximity with NCR towns such as Gurugram, Noida, Faridabad, where rave parties are common, also attract drug peddlers,” said a senior security official at IGI on the condition of anonymity. He added the inflow of the drug is huge because there is a big market in the city that targets youth and students. Security agencies claim that smugglers are using innovative modus operandi and new travel routes to smuggle drugs inside the country.
“Heroin is mainly smuggled into India from Pakistan. Once it reaches Delhi, it is supplied to local dealers who channel it to rave parties and individuals. Besides, the popular party drug is also shipped to European and American countries concealed in small parcels via air,” a senior NCB official said.
“Drug couriers are largely intercepted and detected at international airports. Delhi is the most connected airport from foreign countries and as it is connected with several bordering states, it further makes it easy for local peddlers to transport drugs in other parts of the country,” a senior narcotics official said.
Drugs are mainly concealed in false cavities of books, paintings, machinery parts and toys, among others. There are also professional ‘swallowers’ or mules who are hired and paid handsomely for cocaine trafficking by swallowing small capsules or packets of drugs or hiding them inside their private parts, the officer said. As the criminals are getting smarter, agencies are adopting various steps, including strict surveillance, enforcement at export or import points of the airport and training of drug law enforcement agencies to keep a check on new modus operandi.
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