Goa govt, cops under fire after NCB busts narcotics lab in Anjuna

Panaji, May 7 (IANS): With the Narcotics Control Bureau busting the narcotics drug trade in Goa since the last seven days, the Opposition has raised questions about whether the local police were not aware of the drug manufacturing laboratories and the 'will' of the state government to act against it.

The NCB last Sunday busted an international drug cartel operating from North Goa, leading to the arrest of three persons and the seizure of multiple drugs worth lakhs of rupees.

Later on Tuesday it busted a LSD manufacturing laboratory at Anjuna in North Goa and arrested the manufacturer along with seizing multiple drugs valued at Rs 25 lakh.

On Friday NCB sleuths arrested a Kenyan national in possession of 1 kg cocaine valued at Rs 6 crore at Dabolim airport in Goa.

Though it is generally believed that drugs came to Goa with the hippies six decades ago, now the involvement of locals with foreign nationals has given a boost to this illegal trade.

Goa is increasingly known as a narco-tourism hotspot and many arrive in the coastal state with the intention of 'trade' and 'consumption'. In 2020, the BJP government in Goa was reportedly considering legalising the cultivation of marijuana or cannabis for medicinal purposes. However, after facing opposition the plan was dropped.

In the last four years, the Drug Disposal Committee of the Goa police has disposed off 101.993 kgs of narcotics, after the final disposal of the cases by the Court.

As per official records, the destroyed drugs include Charas, Ganja, LSD, Cocaine, Ecstasy tablets, MDMA powder, Heroin, Brown Sugar and Opium. Among these ganja is easily available in the coastal state.

According to official records of the Goa government, 168 cases in 2017, 222 cases in 2018, 219 cases in 2019, 148 cases in 2020, 121 cases in 2021 and 154 cases in 2022 have been registered under the NDPS Act.

Congress media cell chairman Amarnath Panjikar has attacked the BJP government over the drug trade alleging that it does not have the will to crackdown on illicit activities.

"The recent raids by the NCB prove that the narcotics trade is going on in a big way in Goa. This is because there is no control by the government on such activities. It is also strange that the local police were not aware of the LSD manufacturing laboratory, busted by the NCB. There may be many such labs in Goa which should be shut down," Panjikar said.

Panjikar said that Chief Minister Pramod Sawant has failed as home minister and hence he should vacate this position and pave the way for others.

"Give the responsibility of the Home Ministry to someone who will work in the interest of the people of Goa," he said.

Sources informed that NCB is tracking and following up the drug cases, which helped them to bust the drug trade in Goa.

According to Amit Ghawate, Zonal Director of NCB Mumbai, on the intervening night of April 3 and 4, one Kenyan national named Samuel was intercepted at Dabolim, Goa airport by the Customs officials on suspicion of concealing some non-metallic substance in his baggage, raised during the screening/scanning of his luggage.

"He travelled to India from Johannesburg via Dubai. Information in this regard was immediately passed by the Customs officials to the NCB, Goa and subsequently, a team of NCB, Goa reached Dabolim airport and conducted a thorough search of said Samuel along with his baggage. During the search, cocaine in two packets, weighing total 1.009 kgs, was recovered concealed in the false bottom of his trolley bag," NCB officials said.



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Title: Goa govt, cops under fire after NCB busts narcotics lab in Anjuna

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