Drugs haul: Ganja smuggling cases more than double in last one year in AP
The Andhra Pradesh police have registered 2,040 cases under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act against ganja smugglers and peddlers this year so far. A total of 270 tonnes of ganja has been seized by arresting 5,415 smugglers and peddlers from January 1 to October 24.
According to the police, the number of cases registered so far is more than double, compared to 928 cases booked last year. The rise in seizure of ganja and arrest of smugglers and peddlers is largely attributed to the setting up of the Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) to curb the menace. The SEB, in association with the police, have intensified crackdown on smuggling of ganja and other drugs in the State.
According to data from the Police Department, the SEB has registered 288 cases of the total 2,040 and the remaining 1,752 cases are booked by local police. Of the total 13 districts in the State, Visakhapatnam has topped the list with registration of 972 cases against ganja smugglers and peddlers, followed by East Godavari with 319 cases, Guntur with 138, Chittoor with 107 and Krishna with 98.
College, school dropouts used as suppliers
The Enforcement Bureau has also filed four cases against smugglers of other drugs such as LSD, MDMA, Zolpidem 50 mg and Tramadol. As many as 1,405 vehicles used for the transportation of ganja by smugglers have been seized in police and SEB raids in the State. A majority of the accused involved in ganja smuggling and drug peddling are in the age group of below 30 and college dropouts, the SEB said.
“The SEB alone has registered 288 cases against ganja smugglers based on its own intelligence sources. We have observed that ganja smuggling cases spiked after the government eased Covid-19 lockdown restrictions. We are empowered to file cases on our own from March,” said an SEB official.
“The increasing number of NDPS cases is an indication that police are acting tough on ganja smugglers. We are observing zero tolerance towards smuggling of ganja, drugs and any other sedatives which cause harm to the health and spoil career of youngsters,” the official added.
Interestingly, the state police have filed more cases in 2020 and 2021 compared to previous years as the government is determined to curb the smuggling of ganja and drugs in the State with an iron hand.
“At present, ganja is being largely cultivated in Visakhapatnam Agency and seven districts in neighbouring Odisha. Smugglers are now transporting ganja to other States through Andhra Pradesh,” he said.“Addicted to vices, several youngsters are indulging in ganja smuggling to earn easy money. We are also getting details of bank accounts of the arrested to nab all those involved in ganja smuggling,” said a police officer who did not want to be identified.
It is high time that the state government and the police along with the anti-narcotics body cracks a whip on those indulging in making and supplying drugs from Andhra to other states across India, before it gets out of control and puts the state to shame.
TEJASWINI PAGADALA is an independent communications consultant. She has previously worked with the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister’s Office as the Communications Officer where she has written English speeches for the CM, managed English media communication from the CMO and handled social media accounts of Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister and the Government.