Indian enforcement agencies have sounded an alert on drug cartels using Kochi as a transit point for smuggling heroin to Sri Lanka, where the demand for the contraband has doubled in the past one year.
Agencies have been asked to track carriers from West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Bihar arriving in the city to hand over heroin consignments to agents, who in turn smuggle it to Sri Lanka.
Top sources in the narcotics control bureau (NCB) said the demand for heroin in Sri Lanka had increased to nearly 1,000 kg/year and drug rackets in India are the main suppliers.
In the wake of enforcement agencies upping their surveillance in Tamil Nadu- which has been a major routing point for drug traffickers – drug cartels have shifted its focus to Kerala where it can use migrant labourers as carriers. “Enforcement agencies have recently cracked the activities of a cartel by arresting five people including two women and a Sri Lankan national from Chennai for attempting to smuggle 6.4 kg of heroin to Sri Lanka,” an official said.
As per the assessment of NCB, Kerala has always been a major point for drug cartels to smuggle out heroin to Sri Lanka.
“Over a period of six years starting from 2005, agencies have seized over 30 kg of heroin that was destined for Sri Lanka. The smugglers earlier used four main places in Tamil Nadu – Chennai, Madurai, Salem and Tiruchirapalli – to trade the contraband. But now they are opting for Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode,” he said.
It was from Kerala that NCB tracked the activities of Sri Lankan drug smuggling kingpin identified as Muhammed Fasran, who is at present lodged in Puzhal central prison.
“Fasran operated from Kerala. He used to frequently visit Thiruvananthapuram, where he stayed in a luxurious guest house. He also had a local contact in Kochi who supplied the contraband. There are six cases against him,” an intelligence official said, adding that they are on the lookout for a Sri Lankan woman called Shanthi, who is Fasran’s accomplice.
In March 2008, the directorate of revenue intelligence (DRI) seized 11 kg of heroin from two houses in Kerala and arrested three people from Kozhikode and Malappuram.
The arrested were Habeeb Rahman of Kozhikode, Kiran Kumar of Rajasthan and Rattan, a train ticket examiner of West Central Railway. (Times of India)