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Mumbai police arrests chemistry post-graduate in massive Rs 1,400-crore drug haul

Mumbai police arrests chemistry post-graduate in massive Rs 1,400-crore drug haul

700 kilograms of mephedrone, which is worth ₹1,400 crore, was seized from Mumbai's Palghar district

Mumbai: In the biggest drug bust to be recorded in Maharashtra this year, Mumbai police seized more than 700 kilograms of mephedrone worth Rs 1,400 crore following a raid at a drug manufacturing unit at Nalasopara in Palghar district, and arrested five persons, officials said on Thursday.

The Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) of the Mumbai crime branch conducted the raid at the unit located in Nalasopara (west) on Wednesday and recovered the contraband that was meant to be supplied to drug peddlers in Mumbai and its neighboring areas, an official said.

ANC officers said the main accused in the case is an organic chemistry post-graduate, who taught himself to synthesize MD, which is also known as Meow Meow on MKat on the streets.

As per the ANC, investigations were first initiated against the accused in March this year, when the agency's Ghatkopar unit arrested a local peddler with 250 grams of MD. The names of the accused have been withheld as more arrests are imminent. Their interrogation led the ANC to his supplier, also based in Govandi, from whom 2.76 kg was seized.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP, ANC) Datta Nalawade said, "Further investigation led to the arrest of two more accused, a man and a woman, who were also supplying the drugs in the eastern suburbs. Both were arrested in July this year." DCP Nalawade said the agency went on to arrest the main accused, a 55-year-old Nallasopara resident, who lives with his wife and two children. He was manufacturing the drug and providing it to suppliers as per order, but never accepted any order for less than 25 kg. The payment was taken in advance, with a guarantee that the drugs would be delivered within a few hours of the payment being received.

Based on the interrogation of the main accused, the ANC on Wednesday raided a tenement in Nallasopara where commercial spaces were being given out on rent, and seized 701 kg of MD, worth Rs 1,408 crore, from a godown. The police have also found that the main accused had set up multiple social media accounts in various names, through which he was accepting orders for the drug.

Often called the poor man's cocaine, MD is in very high demand among illegal drug consumers as it gives a long-lasting high, enables the consumer to stay awake for a long period of time, and aids weight loss. As it is manufactured locally, MD is also easier to supply than cocaine or heroin. All the ingredients required for its manufacture are available in the legitimate pharmaceutical industry.

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