Surveillance up to tackle drugs being sent via post, courier
The Customs officials at the Kempegowda International Airport (KIA) discovered recently a foot massager that did not quite look right. Their suspicion was proven right when they found MDMA pills worth ₹1 crore concealed in it. This week, another man was caught while he was trying to peddle drugs. He allegedly admitted that he would courier drugs disguising them as prasada.
Ever since the spotlight has fallen on the drug menace in the city, more so with the alleged involvement of the Kannada film industry, investigating agencies are looking more closely at the channels being used to peddle drugs — prominently post and courier services.
Sources in the Central Crime Branch (CCB) and the Narcotics Control Bureau said that one of the modus operandi unearthed is of drugs being sent via post or courier with a wrong address. “They will inform the local postman or courier person to call them once the parcel arrives so that they can collect it from there and escape being tracked,” said a CCB official.
In July, the police unearthed an organised narcotics ring where disc jockeys (DJs) at two prominent pubs in the central business district allegedly procured drugs through the dark Web and peddled them in the city and other metros. The modus operandi involved a parcel with a contact number being delivered to a post office. The postman would call the number, and agents of the accused would pick up the parcel.
In December last, four employees of the Postal Department were arrested in connection with an international drug racket as they were allegedly handling drugs from foreign countries in nexus with local peddlers. The police had recovered drugs worth ₹20 lakh, including 339 ecstasy tablets, 10 grams of MDMA crystal powder, and 30 gram of brown sugar, which they received in parcels from the Netherlands, Canada, and the U.S.
‘Measures in place’
Sharda Sampath, Chief Postmaster General, Karnataka Circle, told The Hindu that they had been given “a series of confidential instructions” to counter the problem. “Our foreign post office staff have been trained as well. All articles meant to go abroad are routed through this channel and the Customs officials are also there to run their checks. In the office of exchange, every article needs a declaration the customer is expected to give, and if there is a suspicion, they detain the articles accordingly. Once the cooling off is over, we give a go ahead,” she said.
Private courier companies too said they are exercising due diligence.
“We are scanning all the items, like we always do, which ensures that we can see if anything is hidden too. There is another round of scanning at the airport too,” said a staff member of a popular courier company.