Mumbai Crime: Anti-Narcotics Cells crack down on cabbies delivering drugs

Mar 08, 2018, 11:11 IST | Rahul Mahajani

Anti-Narcotics Cells asks police stations across the city to keep a watch on cabbies after arresting taxi driver for delivering drugs for African peddlers; cabbie had made 40 drops

Abu Abrar Seham was arrested on February 28, ANC also seized Seham's taxi, which was used for delivering drugs
Abu Abrar Seham was arrested on February 28, ANC also seized Seham's taxi, which was used for delivering drugs

When they're not driving around passengers, some of the city's cabbies are busy delivering drugs, the Anti Narcotics Cell (ANC) has found. The agency has asked police stations all over the city to keep a watch on them after one was arrested last week for ferrying drugs for an African peddler. Deputy Commissioner of Police (ANC) Shivdeep Lande said they were probing the involvement of more taxi drivers.

Following his arrest on February 28, the driver confessed to having delivered mephedrone (MD) and cocaine at least 30-40 times in the past few months. The arrested accused have revealed that drivers are being paid 10 per cent for every delivery and, most of the times, end up getting Rs 5,000-10,000 per day. The arrested driver, Abu Abrar Seham, 27, earned so much through the drug deliveries that he bought a new taxi six months ago by paying Rs 2.5 lakh in cash.

Abu Abrar Seham
Abu Abrar Seham

The arrest
Seham was arrested with peddler John Peter, 22, who hails from Ivory Coast, by the ANC's Azad Maidan unit, led by Inspector Santosh Bhalekar and officers Pramod Kumbhar and Nitin Bodhe. The duo was caught near the Eastern Freeway at Reay Road with 63 grams of MD worth around Rs 1.3 lakh.

Taxis have been used to smuggle narcotics in the past, but cabbies delivering drugs for peddlers has been relatively uncommon.

More recruited
Following Seham's arrest, ANC officials have learnt that African peddlers have recruited more taxi drivers. Officials said these drivers are under their scanner but have not been arrested yet, as under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act, a case can be filed only when a commercial quantity of narcotics is found. Merely calling them to record their statement would end up alerting them, an official said.

Crackdown
This trend could have come about after a crackdown on African-origin criminals. Officials said ANC arrested around 26 such people last year and, because of this, African peddlers took a back seat in delivering drugs and began using cabbies for it instead. Usually, peddlers used to deliver narcotics personally, but after the recent crackdown, they would take orders on the phone and deliver them through the taxi drivers.

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