DRI raids ketamine units in Gujarat, Goa, Maharashtra; busts international syndicate

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Panaji, June 13 (IANS) In a three-day operation code-named “Operation Vitamin”, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has busted an international drug syndicate, a statement issued by the enforcement agency on Wednesday said.

The DRI officials have seized 308 kg ketamine and a huge quantity of raw material from various sites in Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat, and arrested 10 persons including two British nationals and one from Vietnam.

“This pan-India network was controlled by an international drug syndicate. In all, about 308 kg of ketamine has been seized by DRI along with 2,000 kg of raw material enough to manufacture another 250 kg. The significance of this seizure can be gauged from the fact that all-India seizure of ketamine during the calendar year 2016 was 68.06 kg only,” the DRI statement said.

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“In DRI operation, total 10 persons, including the main organisers and financiers of the manufacturing facilities/ laboratories, sellers and buyers in the supply chain have been apprehended under the provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985.

“Out of the apprehended persons, three are foreign nationals, two from the UK and one from Vietnam,” the statement said, adding that these three persons were “key members of an international syndicate which had close linkages in South-East Asia and Canada”.

Ketamine is a potent anaesthetic commonly used in veterinary medicine. However, this drug is extremely popular as a recreational drug in the rave parties due to the detached high it provides.

The statement said that the drug smuggling syndicate is believed to have supplied ketamine to international drug traffickers in countries like Sri Lanka, Mozambique, the United Kingdom, Canada, Malaysia, Nepal, Australia, Vietnam and Kenya, mostly through courier and postal services.

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In addition to ketamine, DRI teams also recovered small quantities of other drugs suspected to be cocaine and hashish during the raid.

“The drug syndicate had a well-established chain of supply within India and abroad, which has been neutralized. The payments for the raw material and finished products were taking place through hawala channels,” the statement read.

In Goa, the raid was conducted at Vijay Industries located in an industrial estate in Bicholim sub district on Tuesday.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Congress in Goa have been sparring over the raid, with the opposition Congress claiming that the factory was being run by a BJP office-bearer. The BJP has called the allegations baseless.

–IANS

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