Inter-State drug smuggling using courier services unearthed

Noticing the involvement of a Goa-based gang in the supply of psychedelic drugs to peddlers in Kerala, the Crime Branch squad of the Excise Department has decided to carry out an inter-State investigation to bust the rackets. Evidence collected during an investigation into one of the recent drug trafficking cases is expected to support the squad in the probe.

Because of tight surveillance in trains and on inter-State public transport, smugglers were mostly using private courier services for the shipping of illegally procured drugs. In one of the recent seizures, the trickery had come to light exposing the involvement of some of the newly launched courier service providers. Though such operators have claimed innocence, their role will be investigated.

Drugs were reportedly shipped from Goa along with toys to evade checking. In the preliminary investigation, it was found that the Goa-based gang had Kerala youths as members. The role of a woman in smuggling drugs is also being investigated.

It was on June 16 that a Thrissur native named Zakkir Hussain was arrested by squads. He was nabbed during a follow-up investigation into an incident in which two Malappuram natives were arrested with costly LSD (Lysergic Acid Diethylamide) stamps last year. The arrest of the three had helped the Excise Crime Branch secure crucial digital evidence in the case.

According to Excise Department sources, the Crime Branch squad has zeroed in on some of the suspected persons in Goa. The squad would leave for Goa soon, they said.

The dedicated Crime Branch wing of the Excise Department was formed recently to take-up follow up investigations into major drug trafficking cases and the speedy submission of First Information Reports. The northern Kerala squad is responsible for carrying out probes into cases registered under Cigarettes and other Tobacco Products Act, Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and the Kerala Abkari Act.

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