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Mumbai: NCB busts international drug syndicate, seizes 2 kg of MDMA

Updated on: 24 April,2024 10:16 PM IST  |  Mumbai
Faisal Tandel |

A parcel intercepted at Mumbai's Foreign Post Office from the Netherlands contained 4,970 MDMA tablets weighing 2.170 kgs on October 19, 2023.

Mumbai: NCB busts international drug syndicate, seizes 2 kg of MDMA

Drugs seized by NCB/ Sourced Photo

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Mumbai: NCB busts international drug syndicate, seizes 2 kg of MDMA

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Mumbai busted an international drug conspiracy, seizing 2.170 kilograms of MDMA (commonly known as ecstasy) and arrested an African national. The drugs were worth approximately Rs 2 crore.

The operation, which commenced in October 2023, was carried out following extensive technical and financial examinations by the NCB. On October 19, 2023, officials acted on intelligence and intercepted a parcel from the Netherlands at the Foreign Post Office in Mumbai. Upon closer inspection, what looked to be benign objects such as toys and crayons revealed a cleverly concealed stockpile of MDMA tablets. The shipment contained 4,970 MDMA tablets totalling 2.170 kilograms.

"In pursuance of intensive technical collaboration with the financial investigation, NCB-Mumbai has successfully cracked an international syndicate which was involved in international drug trafficking. Based on technical intelligence, information was gathered wherein a parcel containing a huge quantity of high-value drugs was being sourced from the Netherlands and transported into Mumbai," NCB said in its statement.

It added, "An active analysis led to the identification and detection of the said parcel on 19.10.2023 at Foreign Post Office, Mumbai. When the parcel was unboxed, the contents had non-suspecting items such as toys, crayons, pens, etc. However, on closer examination, it was observed that the packaging cardboard box was abnormal. When one side was cut open, layers of multi-coloured MDMA / ecstasy tablets were found concealed between the layers of flap. Accordingly, when other flaps of the package box were cut open, furthermore MDMA tablets were recovered. A total of 4970 MDMA/Ecstasy tablets weighing 2.170 kgs were seized."

The inquiry revealed a sophisticated worldwide drug trafficking network, forcing officials to look further into the syndicate's operations. Despite efforts to avoid detection, a thorough investigation revealed a money trail that led to the identity of an African national living in Navi Mumbai. The suspect, known as B.O. Afo, was captured at his home, where additional incriminating evidence was discovered. Furthermore, other bank accounts, both domestic and international, associated with the suspect have been identified for inquiry.

BO Afo, the accused arrested/ Sourced PhotoBO Afo, the accused arrested/ Sourced Photo

Further investigation found that Afo has been in India since 2018, despite the expiration of his visa. This discovery highlights the syndicate's worldwide nature and operations in India. The recovered medicines, intended for distribution in many cities including Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Goa, and Hyderabad, illustrate the widespread reach of the syndicate.

Since the quantity of the drugs was huge and had international linkage, an extensive investigation was initiated. The syndicate had carefully maintained the technical evasive manoeuvre to avoid any identification. However, in the course of an in-depth investigation, credible technical analysis led to the identification of a financial trail. The information was further developed which led to the identification of an African national based in the Navi Mumbai area, it further read.

"Prolonged surveillance and discreet analysis inferred the convincing data after which the African national named B.O.Afo was intercepted at his house. Incriminating evidence along with multiple bank details of international and domestic banks have been collected which are presently subject to further investigation. It has been noted that BO Afo came to India in 2018 and has been staying since then even after the expiry of the Visa. His other documents are also being verified. The seized drug would have been distributed to multiple cities like Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru, Goa, Hyderabad, etc. A further in-depth investigation is underway to identify the other key associates of the larger syndicate," the statement further read.

Amit Ghawate, Additional Director of NCB Mumbai, emphasised the thorough scope of the ongoing investigation, which aims to identify all major syndicate associates.

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