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Drug kingpin arrested

Mohammad Masle (right) in Imphal on Friday. Picture by Ngangbam Indrakanta Singh

Imphal: The Narcotic and Affairs of Border (NAB) on Thursday arrested Mohammad Masle alias Haji Basleuddin alias Masleuddin, 63, a notorious kingpin of an international drug cartel, who had managed to evade arrest for over two decades.

NAB, with the support of Thoubal police, caught Masle on May 30 and remanded him to police custody till Monday.

NAB superintendent of police W. Basu told reporters here that Masle was arrested as a part of their follow-up action in connection with the seizure of a huge consignment of world is yours (WY) tablets at Kaimai checkpost in Tamenglong district by 23 Assam Rifles on April 10 in which retired deputy superintendent of Manipur police Abdul Latif was allegedly involved.

Masle has been involved in drug business for more than 35 years and is the kingpin of an international drug cartel spanning Myanmar, India, Nepal, Bangladesh and other parts of Southeast Asian countries. He is known as a drug lord all over Myanmar, Assam, Tripura, Bengal, Bihar, UP, Nepal and Bangladesh, Basu said.

Masle is also involved in a number of cases, including arms trafficking, organised crimes such as cross-border arms trade, gold smuggling, vehicle thefts and others. The first case against him was lodged in 1988 for a deadly assault.

According to Basu, Masle and his son, Mohammad Syed Ahmed alias Syrin, 27, are major suppliers of heroin and WY tablets to other parts of India and foreign countries.

Several attempts to arrest the drug lord in the past turned futile as the security forces often met with stiff resistance from his gang of loyalists, who used deadly forces, Basu said.

In the latest operation that led to the arrest of the drug lord, many of his loyalists attacked the security forces, including NAB deputy superintendent Th. Brinda, who led the operation, Basu said.

Mohammad Syed Ahmed is still at large.

Masle was produced before the special court, narcotic drugs and psychotropic substances (fast-track court) and remanded in police custody till Monday.

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