Under pressure, drug cartels adopt new methods in North-east: Guwahati Police chief Harmeet Singh

By PTI

GUWAHATI: Following the crackdown on drug trafficking by the Assam government, narcotic smugglers of the North-eastern states have adopted new methods such as using women as traffickers and ferry the contraband in small vehicles instead of trucks, a senior officer of Guwahati Police said on Monday.

The city police has arrested at least 126 people in operations against drug menace and seized heroin, cocaine and brown sugar valued at more than Rs 21 crore within just one month, Guwahati Police Commissioner Harmeet Singh who took charge on July 19 said.

“It is interesting to see that now they (drug cartels) are using lady peddlers or traffickers to escape the eyes of the police, but they can’t hoodwink us. Women are being used because of pressure from us,” he told PTI in an interview.

A woman who was coming from Mizoram and entered the city from Shillong was arrested recently with 8,500 yaba tablets. The city police also nabbed two local lady peddlers with brown sugar and heroin.

The top cop of the Guwahati Police said the force hit hard at the drug network, which starts from across the border in Myanmar and then enters India via Mizoram and Manipur, and passes through the city to the rest of the country, and nabbed a number of big suppliers.

“Just a few days ago, we arrested one heroin supplier from Churachandpur in Manipur and picked up a cocaine supplier from Delhi. The drug network has now changed its strategy to transport drugs. Earlier, they used to ferry drugs in big vehicles, but now carry in smaller ones,” Singh said.

The Police Commissioner said that the police also strengthened its sources network and are getting near-accurate information of the movement. “For example, the consignment that we caught yesterday started from Moreh (in Manipur) and we could track it from the place of origin,” he said, referring to the biggest drug haul of 1.324 kgs of heroin at the entry-point of Guwahati on the intervening night of Saturday and Sunday.

“Initially, we were able to catch the trucks and peddlers. Now, we are able to detect and apprehend the forward as well as backward linkages. In our consistent efforts, we could arrest 126 people, of which around 110 are peddlers and rest users, in the last one month,” he added.

Singh said the police have registered 36 cases across Guwahati and seized over 3 kgs of heroin, 200 gms of brown sugar and 4 gms of cocaine and other items from the arrested people after his joining the force. “The value of the seized contraband items has been estimated to be of more than Rs 21 crore as per international market standards. This is a big achievement in just one month,” he explained.

The police also recovered 12.5 kg of cannabis or ganja, 14,500 bottles of cough syrup, 76 mobile phones, 21 vehicles from trucks to small cars and Rs 19 lakh in cash from the drug peddlers, Singh said.

Without sharing details, Singh appreciated the role of the general public as many of the catches were based on the information provided by common citizens and not some police nurtured informants. “We are looking out for everything. We need support from the public as they are our biggest sources. This war on drugs will continue till we make our city and state free from the menace,” he added.