Mumbai: In the biggest narcotic seizure of the year by the Anti-Narcotics Cell, recently , the Crime Branch arrested four men for allegedly possessing 100 kg of Fentanyl, a banned drug, worth Rs 1,000 crore.
The Azad Maidan unit of the anti-narcotic cell (ANC) arrested four persons, Salim Ismail Dhala (52), Chandramani Tiwari (41), Sandeep Tiwari (38) and Dhanshyam Ramraj Saroj (43) after receiving confirmation that some people with a large load of fentanyl were likely to export it by misinforming it as some chemicals. Acting on the information. the police seized four containers each weighing 25 kg from the boot of the silver Nexon. Besides, a Suzuki two-wheeler belonging to Sandeep Tiwari was seized.
“After confirming the authenticity of our informer, we laid a trap at Subhasnagar on the service road at Vakola in Santacruz (east), from where we arrested them with the contraband,” an officer told TOI on condition of anonymity.
“The four accused are known to each other and they have conspired and were planning to hand over this banned chemical to some foreigner who was to take it to the US and a few other countries where there is a huge demand as it is used as a substitute to expensive drugs like cocaine and heroin,” a senior police officer told the daily, also requesting anonymity.
All the four accused were booked under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS) and the drug samples were sent to the Forensic Science Laboratory (FSL) in Kalina. According to the cops, the four accused were not cooperating in the investigations. They refused to reveal the source of the fentanyl.
The accused were produced in court on Wednesday and remanded to police custody till January 1. However, in self-defence, they claimed that the substance seized from them is not Fentanyl and that they have valid invoices for its purchase.
Fentanyl, an opioid, is commonly used as an anaesthetic to relieve pain, especially for cancer but also abused for recreation purpose. Often mixed with heroin or cocaine, or used as a substitute for these, it is a widely abused substance in the US.
A banned drug under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), one kg of the drug reportedly sells for Rs 10 crore in the international market, an official told The Indian Express.
Of the men caught, Dhala is a driver from Cotton Green, Central Mumbai. In 2013, he had been arrested by the Ghatkopar ANC unit for ganja possession. He was also acquitted by a court in Mumbai in 2016 in connection with a seizure of 79 kg charas. Sandeep Tiwari, a graduate, works for a private company and was arrested with Saroj, his driver, and seized their car, a brand-new Tata Nexon SUV, in which the drug was found.
This is the second case of Fentanyl seizure in the last two months, with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) arresting three men, including a Mexican national in Indore in October, reported the daily.