MDMA worth ₹13 cr. seized from flat in Kochi

Contraband found in waste bin; 90 g of drug seized from same flat a day ago; five arrested

A day after seizing 90 grams of MDMA from a flat at Vazhakkala here, busting a five-member racket, excise officials made an even bigger seizure of 1.85 kg of the premier party drug worth over ₹13 crore from the same flat on Friday.

The contraband was found hidden in a waste bin in the flat. “We have launched a detailed probe into the incident, which probably has international ramifications,” said N. Ashok Kumar, deputy excise commissioner, Ernakulam. The racket is suspected to have rented multiple apartments, some of them in fake addresses, for their operations, making it difficult to trace them.

In small packets

The drug was kept in small packets of 50 and 100 grams and were hidden in such a manner that it passed off as waste. The gang is suspected to have sold small quantities in retail.

They are suspected to have smuggled in nearly 4 kg of MDMA from Chennai and Puducherry to Kerala, of which only around 1.2 kg have been recovered so far.

Five persons, including a woman, were arrested with drugs from the flat in a raid conducted jointly by the Excise anti- Narcotic Special Squad, the State Excise Enforcement Squad, and Customs Preventive Unit, Kochi, on Thursday.

Working with dogs

The gang used to travel as a family along with ferocious dog breeds such as Rottweiler and Doberman to evade inspection by law enforcement agencies at check-points. The car they used to travel in was seized and three dogs were detained in the search operation. Though a man and woman from Kasaragod and Ernakulam respectively were also taken into the custody, their arrests have not been recorded as their involvement in the case could not be confirmed.

The arrested have been remanded in judicial custody. “We have filed an application for their custody for detailed interrogation. They claim to have sourced the drug from Chennai, Puducherry, and Mumbai though we will have to verify those claims,” said Mr. Kumar.

Apart from Kochi, the gang is suspected to have been involved in the distribution of MDMA in Malappuram, Kozhikode, Kannur, Wayanad, and Kasaragod districts.

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