The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Purveyor of opium for the masses
- ON THANGA’S TRAIL: Student of theology finds his calling in drug trade

Shillong, May 23: Sang Niang Thanga was a student of divinity, and the stack of Bibles — both in English and Mizo — at his rented house is testimony to the Mizo’s brush with theology before he found his calling in the more lucrative narcotics trade.

But Thanga was not dabbling in drugs alone. The absconding drug kingpin could have also been dealing in exotic aphrodisiacs along with banned “mood elevators” from the rented ground floor of a house belonging to former CBI official Upen Biswas in Calcutta.

(Late tonight, Meghalaya police took Thanga’s wife Gloria Remi and another person identified as Zloing Thanga into custody under the foreigners’ regulation Act.)

In fact, Thanga’s family — his wife, their two sons and his brother — were aware that the Mizo dealt in “bonzong” (dried bull’s penis) which is very popular as an aphrodisiac in several Southeast Asian countries.

Remi, who spoke to The Telegraph exclusively this morning at their rented house in Nongthymmai, said Thanga started his “bonzong” business after shifting to Shillong from Mizoram.

She said Thanga’s association with Calcutta started simultaneously as he said “the metro has a good market for bonzong”. Since then, he had been travelling to and from Calcutta.

Additional commissioner of customs and central excise G. Panmei, who led a raid on Thanga’s residence, said he was also involved in a wildlife racket and a case for alleged involvement in wildlife trade was pending against him at the Madanriting police station in Shillong.

Thanga, whom anti-narcotics agencies have identified as the key man in the notorious Ah Hua drug cartel’s operations in India, is believed to have fled to Myanmar. The racket came to light after the arrest of three Myanmarese and two Chinese from Calcutta.

However, his wife said Thanga had gone to Farkwan in southern Mizoram to visit his ailing father. “That was two weeks ago... he left only Rs 300 with me and some 200 pieces of bonzong, saying that he will be back soon,” she said.

Several visitors have been calling on Remi and her sons -- one two years and the other three months old --- over the last few days, from customs officials to reporters who want to know all about Thanga.

After a brief friendship in childhood, Remi and Thanga met again at the Berian Baptist College in Bangalore in 1992. The two married in 1999 and shifted to Shillong to try their hand at the “bonzong” business which she claimed is the “main source of livelihood” for the family.

She said Thanga had been arrested a number of times earlier by the customs while selling foreign goods in Shillong.

Born in January 15, 1973, to Sang Loia and Biakimi, Thanga belongs to the Khiangte Te tribe, originally from Myanmar’s Chin province. His parents divorced when he was 11 and since then he had been on the streets. He has a birth certificate, which was issued to him by the Mizoram government a couple of years ago.

Customs commissioner Donald Ingty today claimed Thanga was in hiding in Falam in Mynamar. Narcotics bureau officials said they were also looking for him in Kathmandu where his sister-in-law Olivia Vankiphluaii, an Evangelist, lives.

“We are almost sure that his wife is not involved in the racket but we want to constantly monitor her activities as she could lead us to the man,” additional excise commissioner Panmei said.

Sources said certain documents recovered from Thanga’s Shillong residence provided “solid evidence” that he was at the helm of affairs of a couple of underground laboratories in northern Myanmar, close to manipur, which are used for processing amphetamines and met-amphetamines, commonly called “ecstasy drug”.

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