With 19 states in the United States legalizing the consumption of marijuana and cannabis and many still in the process of doing so, readily available contraband is being channeled into India through international air cargo and courier packages, the Center told the Supreme Court last week. .
In an affidavit filed in a suo moto proceeding, the Center presented the latest trends observed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in detecting internationally trafficked drugs through sea and air routes and gave a complete picture of the steps being taken to contain them. the country’s drug menace.
“During September 2021 to September 2022, 77 cases of drug seizures (mostly hydroponic marijuana) have been detected by the Postal Valuation Section of Customs, Mumbai alone,” said an affidavit filed by the Center through the Narcotics Control Bureau. In all these cases, he added: “The shipments originated from the US, the UK, Canada and other sectors of the West where marijuana is legalized.”
The affidavit noted that 19 US states have legalized the recreational use or consumption of marijuana, while others are in the process of legalizing it beyond medical use. “The easy availability of the product allows people who may be attracted to ship or traffic the drug wherever there is a demand for such products,” the affidavit states.
The affidavit was in response to an October 18 order of the Supreme Court in a suo moto proceeding in which the court was concerned that nearly 3,000 kilograms of heroin had been seized from the Mundra port in September. While the court sought details of the investigation into the abduction, the Center was asked to outline steps to prevent such incidents in future.
“Smuggling of narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances (NDPS) into the country through sea routes (coastal regions) has increased in recent times. In most cases, commercial containerized cargo has been misused as a cover to bring the drugs into the country,” the affidavit said. Most such interceptions were found on the west coast. Regarding the Mundra port abduction, the matter is being investigated as the NIA (NIA) has found the involvement of two terrorist groups – Tehreek-ul-Mujahideen and Hizbul Mujahideen.
“Seizures of narcotics such as heroin smuggled in ships/vessels from the Gulf region and Iran in the recent past, coupled with Covid-19 restrictions on air/land routes, suggest that the sea route will continue to be exploited by drug traffickers in the future,” the Center said, and trade He added that the sheer volume of this makes it “impractical” to check every shipment.
Investigation into heroin shipments at Mundra port has revealed a clear Pakistan connection. The Cente said: “During investigations it was revealed that international drug traffickers from Afghanistan and Iran, with the help of their handlers in Pakistan, smuggled large quantities of heroin into India by concealing the shipment in semi-processed talcum stone.”
Further, the Center informed the high court that tracking of drug consignments being trafficked through road transport has seized 45.6 MT of ganja in 2020-21 from the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Odisha, Maharashtra, Telangana. Andhra Pradesh and North Eastern states.
International travelers are being profiled to detect suspicious travelers, the Center said. In most cases of drug seizures involving international travelers, the DRI noticed that the majority were from African countries mostly arriving on medical visas.
With NIA, DRI, Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC), NCB involved in drug detection and seizure, the Center stressed the need for greater data/intelligence sharing between agencies. “Law enforcement agencies need to develop advanced operational tools and share live intelligence/information to assess the nature of drug trafficking in sensitive areas and critical border points.”
An emerging area of concern, the Center noted, was the use of cryptocurrency in the drug trade, in which law enforcement officers need training. “Departmental wallets are needed to seize cryptocurrencies recovered in connection with drug cases in the coming times, training of officers on the dark web and cryptocurrencies needs better attention.”