As law enforcement agencies in India adopt a stricter stance on marijuana, smugglers are getting even more creative in their mission to supply it to the people. Recently, excise officials took note of how ganja was being transported within the country through cargo carriers in the guise of “household articles”, or in commercial vehicles by stashing it in hidden slots or covering it by fruits and vegetables.
A similar attempt in the northern state of Haryana was foiled by the police on January 3, wen they recovered a whopping 2,233 kgs of marijuana worth Rs 11 crore (approx. $1,504,284) from a truck supposedly carrying animal fodder, and arrested two people. Starting from the eastern state of Odisha, the truck driver and his helper were transporting the huge quantity of marijuana hidden in bags of cottonseed, a byproduct of cotton that is used as cattle feed. But they couldn’t be sneaky enough as the local police, acting on a tip-off, intercepted the truck before they could reach their final destination of Hisar, from where it would be supplied to Haryana and the national capital region of Delhi-NCR.
The contraband was seized, and the truck driver identified as Bhupender Singh, and his helper identified as Omji Singh, were detained under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.
Reports have shown that Delhi is the third largest consumer of cannabis in the world, and consequently, drug busts in the region are commonplace. Only in December, Delhi police busted an international drug cartel and arrested two Delhi residents. They seized at least 450 grams of imported marijuana and 100 grams of a THC-infused toffee from them.
But in September, some Delhi cops tried to beat the dealers at their own game when they confiscated 160 kgs of marijuana from a peddler and only reported a single kilogram, while selling off the other 159 kgs. The four cops involved were then suspended.
Cannabis seizures have been high around the world ever since the pandemic struck. This may be due to a "spike in intelligence reports" as people were "spending more time in their communities," which means more tip-offs for the cops. And some speculate that this might be due to the attention having moved from those drugs that usually cross borders to those known for being homegrown, since the borders were largely sealed over the past year. With people having stayed cooped up indoors, crime levels fell as well, which meant the cops had more time to tackle drug offences. Several city police teams in India have also been reported to be in the process of making special teams to tackle cannabis smuggling.
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