Sunday, April 28, 2013


By Kajol Singh / New Delhi

India's capital hits a new high as seizure of party drugs such as ecstasy and speed shows a fivefold increase. Delhi's party circuit is perched high on cloud amphetamine. The Capital has emerged as a major supplier of pseudoephedrine, the key raw material for manufacturing Amphetamine Type Stimulant ( ATS), whose variants are popularly known as ecstasy, speed, base and ice in party drug circles.

Law enforcement agencies have been left stunned by the seizure of 1,528 kg of pseudoephedrine by the Narcotics Control Bureau ( NCB) in just the first three months of this year.

The seizures for all of last year totalled a piddly 380 kg; previous years had settled at between a steady 200 and 250 kg. This year’s megaseizure, NCB sources say, could be used to manufacture ATS substances worth ` 200 crore in Delhi The easy availability of pseudoephedrine has jet- fuelled Delhi’s rave parties now.

ATS substances are a hit with party- goers who feel the need to energise themselves for an orgy of dancing through the night.

ATS substances have even displaced cocaine, the drug of choice for the capital’s swish set, because they are relatively inexpensive and easily available.

ATS substances come as pills, powders and in liquid form. They can be injected, taken orally and even smoked.

“Pseudoephedrine is used in stimulants that give a high and make a person more energetic. Even cocaine comes in the category of a stimulant. An overdose can irreparably damage the liver. It can even cause death,” says Dr Sandeep Vohra, a consultant psychiatrist at Apollo Hospital who handles drug abuse cases

Big money
The big money involved in the pseudoephedrine trade has birthed an international syndicate in the city. Pseudoephedrine, which can be legitimately used for pharmaceutical purposes, is illegally manufactured in Uttarakhand and Himachal and brought to Delhi.

Organised cartels working in Delhi send it to Myanmar via the North- East states. In Myanmar, the raw material is manufactured into party drugs and smuggled across the world, including India where the demand is growing.

These drugs are also smuggled across South- East Asia and even to Europe.

NCB officials say that a crackdown on the syndicate began towards the end of 2012 with some major seizures taking place. “ Traditionally India was only a transit point but now the main component for party drugs is originating from here. It is also being consumed in rave party circles in Mumbai, Goa and Bangalore,” says one NCB officer on condition of anonymity.

The crackdown is only one part of the story.

Experts are unanimous in saying that the demand for such drugs in cities like Delhi is growing exponentially.

“ It’s only a matter of time before transit point becomes a consumption point. Manipur and Punjab were two states that were traditionally transit points but have now become highest consumers,” said former Delhi Police chief Ved Marwah.

The carriers
Officials worry about the latest drug smuggling trend of using girls as carriers.

In fact, the profile of the carrier also seems to have changed. The traditional modus operandi of using Nigerians, it seems, is history now; young women, preferably students, are being used to smuggle the drugs from Delhi to the North- East from where they are sent to Myanmar.

The 1,528 kg of pseudoephedrine seized this year in Delhi is just the NCB’s handiwork.

Local police forces in the North- East states, and even the Delhi Police, have also made some big recoveries. “ It is estimated that the total quantity seized countrywide would be more than 2,500 kg if seizure by other agencies are taken into account,” says an NCB official.

ATS substances or party drugs have even displaced cocaine, once the drug of choice for Delhi’s swish set

Meanwhile, Delhi Police have arrested seven Nigerians and a Myanmarese woman for involvement in a drug and fake bank note racket, following a CIA tip- off. Among other things, the police recovered 1.45 kg of party drug methaquolone, 2.5 g of cocaine, fake US and Indian bank notes and 19 passports, including one fake Indian passport, from the eight.

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