State police have seized drugs amounting to Rs 18.33 crore within the last four months, Director General of Police Lajja Ram Bishnoi informed today.
Speaking to reporters, Bishnoi, under whose watch the police have really gone after drug dealers and smugglers, said that the department has raised the bar in the fight against drugs and are also spreading awareness in rural and urban areas about its dangers.
Giving a breakdown of the drugs seized, the DGP said that police have recovered 3kg of heroin, 4.5 tonnes of cannabis, 150g of opium and 145 bottles of cough syrup.
Bishnoi gave credit to the district police forces and the Anti-Narcotics Task Force for their swift action. He added that 31 vehicles and 90 smartphones were also recovered in the drug busts. Cash recovered from the suspected drug traffickers amounted to Rs 24.22 lakh.
In the last four months, 48 cases have been registered and 134 suspects arrested, out of which 125 are male and nine female. Eleven are from other North East states, while 123 are Meghalayans. Out of the accused, five are repeat offenders. Worryingly, 40 of those arrested are juveniles.
Most drug trafficking occurs in eight of Meghalaya’s 12 districts – East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, South West Khasi Hills, East Jaiñtia Hills, West Jaiñtia Hills, Ri-Bhoi, West Garo Hills and South Garo Hills. Out of the 48 police cases, 15 have been registered in East Khasi Hills, with the next highest being West Garo Hills. Eighteen of the state’s 76 police stations have recorded cases under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act. The police are concentrating on these 18 to break the supply chain of the drug smugglers.
“This kind of analysis helps us to concentrate in the crackdown against drug traffickers,” the state’s top cop said, adding that three or four big kingpins who were involved in inter-state transport of drugs were arrested in the last few months. “Most drug mafias are not directly operating from Shillong city, which makes it difficult to nab them.”
For those criminals able to avoid the police, the rewards are high. Truck drivers get between Rs 50,000 to Rs 1 lakh per consignment per sector. The price of cannabis in a place like New Delhi can be up to six times the cost in the North East, which makes trafficking a temptation.
Bishnoi also informed that, possibly within 10 days, the seized drugs will be destroyed by the police.