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How Noida is turning into narco biz hub

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How Noida is turning into narco biz hub

Illegal drug labs thriving in scores of houses make the NCR town a new manufacturing, supply den for Delhi and beyond.

When a battery of sleuths swooped down on a Noida house last week and recovered 1,818 kg of banned party drugs substance, two kg of cocaine and 134 kg fake heroin, it came as a shocker to many.

The visuals of countless big blue plastic containers and small white polythene packs resembled the famous scene inside a dark, ramshackle drug factory from the movie Udta Punjab. The only difference was, India's biggest narcotics seizure, worth Rs 400 crore, came from a well-furnished and bright Kothi given on rent by its IPS officer owner.

But May 9 was just the tip of the iceberg. What Mail Today is revealing is much more shocking. The satellite city has actually become a massive drug manufacturing hub and a major supply centre for Delhi and beyond with scores of such houses being turned into labs, senior Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) officials have confirmed to this reporter.

In the last 18 months, agencies have seized drugs worth Rs 1,000 crore and arrested Afghanistan and Nigerian nationals who lived as tenants in Noida and supplied consignments to Delhi and other cities.

In the latest case as well, the three arrested African nationals have confessed to having bought the chemicals from various illicit sources and stored them to manufacture drugs and supply them to various cities.

"They distributed drugs in Delhi-NCR. They also manufactured fake heroin and transported it out of the country. This seizure is just the tip of the iceberg. We're cracking down on all such factories using Pseudoephedrine to make and supply party drugs," said Madho Singh, NCB's Zonal Director (Delhi).

THRIVING LABS

The world's largest Pseudoephedrine seizure in the past three years came after CISF intercepted a South African passenger at Delhi airport before she could board her flight to Johannesburg via Dubai. About 24.7 kg of Pseudoephedrine was found from her. She confessed to having got the consignment from the Noida ring. This led to a 10-hour raid at the Noida house where the maid was told to come only once in 2-3 weeks.

Mail Today traced dozens of such houses on the radar of agencies for being involved in the illegal trade. Noida and Greater Noida have in recent years witnessed a mushrooming of apartment complexes and farmhouses. Most constructions in Greater Noida and Noida Extension beyond Sector 135 are on big plots owned by people who live elsewhere.

"With insufficient security guards, infrequent police patrolling and poor transportation, many houses have been turned into illegal drug labs," said an official. In some cases, packaging factories operate from areas in Sector 18 so that narcotics can be sold outside schools and colleges in posh residential localities between Sector 18 and Sector 54.

"Manufacturing drugs doesn't require much effort or machinery. Online tutorials to make party drugs with raw materials are being used big time. We're conducting raids in Noida and other cities as well," said an NCB official.

Rackets also have links with some pharma companies who supply raw materials needed to make drugs. "In October, 9,600 litres of banned drug Acetic Anhydride worth Rs 10 crore were seized from Noida and three people detained. The chemical, used for making medicines, is ille-heroin. Those arrested included the director of a company and an Afghan national," said an official.

They had tie-ups with medicine manufacturing company staff and sales people across the country. "The manufacturers used to pay them well for the chemical. After seeing the profit margin, they have started supplying the chemical in bulk," the official said.

PARTY SCENE PEAKS

Rave parties are booming in NCR and cops are raiding farmhouses and combing Facebook pages and WhatsApp groups being used to push the cocktail of illegal booze, narcotics and prostitution.

The crackdown follows the police's May 5 raid and arrest of about 200 youngsters at a Noida farmhouse where some 50 rave parties have been organised in recent months.

Online pages promise unlimited drinks, flavoured tobacco and nontobacco hookah, dancers and "real fun". One person has to pay anything between Rs 10,000 and Rs 25,000 to join the bash.

"Party drugs such as LSD, Meow Meow, heroin, cocaine and weed are unusually high in demand in this scorching heat. Peddlers roam around venues to serve abusers," confirmed an NCB official.

WEAK TENANT VERIFICATION

A weak tenant verification system is also aiding the Noida cottage industry, officials said. The IPS officer from whose house the recoveries were made has admitted he couldn't have his tenants verified and he had no idea what they were up to.

"The manufacturing and supply of drugs are mostly happening from secluded and rented accommodations or farmhouses in Noida, because there is no fear of verification by the police," said an official of the Delhi Police's Special Cell that investigates interstate cases.

Noida police chief Vaibhav Krishna denied the charges. "We get verification forms signed by both tenants and property owners. Most people who own houses do not live here. So we have to send files to other states where the police seldom cooperate," he charged back.