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Exclusive | Operation LSD: Cops party hard to bust drug ring

Updated on: 03 April,2024 06:48 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Faisal Tandel | mailbag@mid-day.com

Cops infiltrate college parties and events to crack down on a racket run by students of Navi Mumbai’s engineering, arts and management colleges; narco sleuths say mastermind held

Exclusive | Operation LSD: Cops party hard to bust drug ring

In the last week of February, the team arrested Sanjay Kutale, 23, a vegetable vendor from Panvel, who was allegedly supplying dosed blotter paper to students. Illustration/Uday Mohite

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Key Highlights

  1. Massive drug ring across Navi Mumbai and Raigad was busted by Navi Mumbai Crime Branch
  2. The alleged kingpin used Snapchat and other platforms to supply the psychedelic drugs
  3. To crack the case, cops kept an eye on college events in plain clothes

A massive drug ring across Navi Mumbai and Raigad was busted by the Navi Mumbai Crime Branch’s Anti-Narcotic Cell (ANC), with the police seizing around 114 LSD-dosed blotter papers worth Rs 22.8 lakh. 


The alleged kingpin, 22-year-old Adarsh Subramanian, used Snapchat and other platforms to supply the psychedelic drugs to students. To crack the case, cops kept an eye on college events in plain clothes. On February 29, mid-day brought to light the first major arrest in the case where a vegetable vendor was nabbed for being a major link in the drug cartel that caters to college students.


The arrested accused in the custody of the Navi Mumbai Crime Branch’s anti-narcotic cell on March 30
The arrested accused in the custody of the Navi Mumbai Crime Branch’s anti-narcotic cell on March 30


The vegetable vendor, Panvel-based Sanjay Kutale, 23, was arrested in the last week of February, as first reported by mid-day. He was allegedly supplying dosed blotter paper to students attending events and parties. He told the authorities that he had received the paper from a 24-year-old engineering student, Lalit Sunil Pawar, who, along with otheres, would supply LSD to engineering students.

According to the police, the LSD was manufactured in Russia, but was probably obtained from Amsterdam. Forensic experts will determine its quality. The blotter papers, which were brought from Goa, are believed to be of poor quality. It was made by Nigerian nationals.

1. In the first week of Feb 2024, a college student from Navi Mumbai approached officials of the Crime Branch’s anti-narcotic cell (ANC), informing them about the increasing usage of LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) among students at parties. According to the student, some would trip for two or more days after consuming the drug.

2. On receiving the information, Police Inspector Neeraj Chaudhary informed his superior Deputy Commissioner of Police Amit Kale. After getting the latter’s approval for a crackdown, he formed a team. The team members were entrusted with various tasks, such as gathering information about the network. 

3. The team of officers in plain clothes started looking into the drug supply network in Navi Mumbai. They also started attending events in colleges and parties. A watch was kept on all bashes organised by college students across Navi Mumbai and other remote areas.

4. In the last week of Feb, the team arrested Sanjay Kutale, a vegetable vendor from Panvel, who was supplying dosed blotter paper to students attending events and parties. According to the team, he got the paper from a Panvel-based engineering student, Lalit Pawar, 24, who would supply LSD to engineering students across Navi Mumbai and Raigad. 

5. On interrogating Pawar, officials uncovered a huge network in Navi Mumbai and Panvel, mostly comprising students of different colleges. Apparently, not only engineering students but also those pursuing fine arts, management studies and MBA degrees were also part of the supply chain.

6.  ANC officials arrested four students who were selling drugs. They are Himanshu Prajapati, 19; Vijay Shirke, 23; Sidesh Chavan, 25; and Adarsh Subramanian, 22. The last is said to be the kingpin.

“After Adarsh’s arrest, the Navi Mumbai supply chain was busted and further investigations were started,” an officer said. The police seized around 114 blotter papers worth Rs 22.80 lakh. 

7.  It was difficult for the police to bust the network as the alleged suppliers were not using mobile devices. Adarsh was using Snapchat and other social media platforms to supply LSD and while he was delivering the drugs, he would change his location three to four times.  

8.  The ANC team are now looking at busting the inter-state LSD supply chain. After the arrest of Adarsh, it was learnt that he was getting the psychedelic drugs from Goa and Karnataka. Sources said the blotter paper brought from Goa was of inferior quality and made by Nigerian nationals, who are in the supply chain. The original LSD dots are from Amsterdam and manufactured by Russians. “We will send the drugs for forensic analysis to ascertain their quality,” said a police officer. Illustrations/Uday Mohite

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