Party drugs haul worth $450m seized in India
Millions of tablets of a recreational drug with an estimated street value of nearly $450 million have been seized and a Bollywood film producer has been arrested in western India, officials said yesterday. More than 20 million tablets of the banned drug Mandrax were found stashed inside a fizzy drinks factory in the city of Udaipur by customs officers during multiple raids in October. It was one of India’s biggest-ever drug hauls.
Najib Shah, head of the central board of excise and customs, said they had arrested a Bollywood film producer for his role in the drug stash. “The total consignment was about 23.5 metric tons with an international value of 3,000 crore,” Shah told reporters in New Delhi. Subhas Dudhani, a producer based in India’s movie capital Bollywood, was arrested in Mumbai after the drugs were recovered, Shah said.
Officials say they suspect the drugs were destined to be smuggled to the African continent. A customs officer told AFP on condition of anonymity the consignment was hidden in a secret room, which was uncovered after concrete walls had been broken down. “We are on the lookout for several people involved in the drug syndicate,” the officer said. Methaqualone is the chemical name of Mandrax, a psychotropic drug which is popular on the rave scene in parts of Africa and Asia. The drug is commonly known as M-Pills, buttons or smarties and is usually smoked mixed with cannabis. An overdose can be fatal or leave the user in a coma. — AFP