The ANC's crackdown on MD has cut down the flow of the drug into the city by 90 per cent. Pic/THINKSTOCK
While the police have been consistently cracking down on those running Mephedrone (MD, M-Cat, meow meow) rackets, the dealers have only cracked on with new ways to peddle their wares. With decreased supply, the prices for the drug have shot up and peddlers are now fleecing new addicts by selling them medicines like paracetamol, triprolidine and seasoning like ajinomoto, often mixed with, or instead of the real deal.
The crackdown on Mephedrone (MD or meow meow) drug rackets has cut down its flow into the city, thus resulting in an increased demand for the drug. The sudden cut has also led to a rise in the price of the drug in the open market that has gone from Rs 700 per gram to Rs 8,000 per gram. This is more than the market price for cocaine, which is sold between Rs 6,000 to Rs 7,000 per gram.
Pouncing on the opportunity, the peddlers, especially the Nigerian nationals, have started fleecing new addicts by selling them paracetamol, triprolidine and ajinomoto in the name of meow meow. This new tactic came to light after the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) came across a few instances of such dealings, ANC officers told mid-day.
This new tactic for selling MD came to light after the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) came across a few instances of such dealings. PIC FOR REPRESENTATION/THINKSTOCK
Fleecing new addicts
"Since the flow of MD in the city has been cut down to 90 per cent after recent major crackdowns on drug producers and distributors, its demand has risen in local markets. The price for MD has jumped from Rs 700 per gram to Rs 8,000 [per gram]," said Shivdeep Lande, deputy commissioner of police (ANC).
"And because peddlers are not being supplied with MD, they have started selling adulterated drugs and paracetamol, triprolidine and ajinomoto in the name of meow meow to the new addicts, generally the school students and collegians. Peddlers are succeeding in fleecing new addicts as they can't differentiate between the original, pure drugs and any other substance labelled as drugs," added Lande, saying that after making the sale, the peddlers changed their place of operation.
According to the officers, the recent crackdown on factories producing MD has impacted its flow in the city very effectively. In May, ANC's Azad Maidan unit arrested Harish Chandra Nanasaheb Dorge, the owner of an MD factory in Pune's Daund area, while he was trying to sneak into the city with eight kg of MD worth Rs 1.6 crore. They later busted his factory.
Sources said Dorge's arrest sent a strong message in the drug market that the police were after the big fish and wouldn't spare the drug producers as well as the businessmen, who unlawfully supply chemicals used for making MD.
"One of the major drug suppliers who used to supply the ingredient chemicals to drug producers had escaped to Bangkok fearing strict action from the police. Because of this, the flow of raw material to the drug producers started drying up, ultimately affecting production," said an ANC officer.
The police also believe that the demand for cocaine and other drugs, like charas, has also increased because the supply of MD has been affected. But the Narcotics Control Bureau's crackdown on cocaine traffickers linked to international rackets has affected that drug's flow in the open market as well.
No one willing to sell MD
ANC officers claimed that in the last six months, the police have taken action on 18 big MD distributors. All of them are in jail and did not get bail, as a strong case was prepared against them. Because of this action, drug distributors now fear to deal in big quantities. This revelation came after ANC sent its decoy for a drug deal, but the distributor refused to deal for a big amount, another ANC officer said.
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