16 members of International Drug Syndicate arrested in Punjab’s Ludhiana

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16 members of International Drug Syndicate arrested in Punjab's Ludhiana
16 members of International Drug Syndicate arrested in Punjab's Ludhiana

Ludhiana: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Monday claimed to have busted the “entire chain” of an international drugs syndicate, being operated from Ludhiana in Punjab, with the arrest of 16 persons including two Afghan nationals and seizure of about 60 kgs of contraband and some ammunition.

The syndicate was busted in a period of about 1.5 months and it has links with the Shaheen Bagh (Delhi) and Muzaffarnagar (Uttar Pradesh) drug busts unearthed by the agency last year, NCB deputy director general (northern region) Gyaneshwar Singh said in a statement.

He said the probe in the latest case began in mid-November after the Chandigarh zonal bureau of the federal anti-narcotics agency busted two illegal heroin processing laboratories located in Ludhiana, being run by two Afghan chemists.

“This international drug syndicate is spread across countries like Afghanistan, Pakistan etc. and different states of India,” he said.

“More than 60 bank accounts linked to this Ludhiana group have been frozen under the provisions of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act till now,” Mr Singh said.

Around 60 kgs of heroin and other suspected drugs and 31 live bullets were recovered by the NCB as part of this 1.5 month-long operation that it undertook with the help of other agencies including Punjab Police.

About 30 properties purchased by the operatives of this drugs syndicate have been identified and the agency is expected to seize them, another NCB officer said.

Mr Singh said business conducted by some night clubs and restaurants, being operated by the accused in Punjab, are under the scanner of the NCB.

“Also, various other front businesses of this international drug syndicate like liquor vends, rice mill, ghee business and different agencies of reputed brands and role of their associates are being inquired into,” Mr Singh said.

The agency, in April 2022, had seized about 50 kgs of heroin from south Delhi’s Shaheen Bagh and arrested about half-a-dozen people as part of busting an India-Afghan drugs syndicate.

The India-Afghanistan syndicates smuggle goods into India through maritime as well as land-border routes and heroin is smuggled with legitimate goods and cargo, anti-narcotics agencies have said.

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