The city wing of the Customs department raided a fish market in Diamond Harbour on Wednesday and recovered brown sugar, worth Rs 46 lakh, from a businessman. The sleuths slapped charges on him under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and arrested him.
This drug haul comes a few days after the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) carried out an anti-drug operation in the same region. The CID sleuths, too, unearthed a racket and seized a large quantity of heroin while the consignment was being smuggled in on a ship. The kingpin of the racket, however, gave the sleuths the slip.
According to Customs officers, they had information that some fish traders were smuggling drugs into the city and its adjoining areas. “We activated our network to find out the route the smugglers take,” they said.
During the course of investigation, the officials came to know that a part of the drugs was being stocked in the Nagendrabazar fish market. And a section of fish traders was directly involved in the smuggling. “The smugglers were using the market as their distribution centre. The drugs would be supplied in fish consignments,” said an official.
As soon as the information reached the Customs headquarters in the city, a team of officials raided the Nagendrabazar fish market. “We had specific information and, accordingly, we stormed the shop of 52-year-old fish trader Sukumar Roy,” said an official. The swoop team found a bag behind Roy’s cash-box. “A packet of heroin, weighing 460 g, was in the bag. We rounded up Roy, giving him no room to escape,” said the official.
The sleuths conducted a spot-interrogation before leaving the fish market. “Roy gave us some information and our officials are working on it. We have also got some leads about the others involved in this racket,” said a member of the swoop squad.
According to officials of the CID’s narcotic wing, smugglers prefer the Sunderbans waterways to bring in their consignments. “The drugs are shipped here from Nagaland and Manipur in the Northeast and from Myanmar. When the consignment arrives, local operators smuggle it in on their country boats,” said a CID official.
The South 24-Parganas police corroborated the mode of operation. “The drugs are taken to their respective hideouts. Later, when they feel the coast is clear, they shift the consignment to the local markets,” said an official of the district police. “It is difficult for the local police to keep an eye on the waterways. We have sought cooperation from the Coast Guard in the matter.”