Amid Covid pandemic, trains remain the preferred choice for couriers to smuggle narcotic substances | Lucknow News

Lucknow


LUCKNOW: The Covid pandemic has seemingly failed to deter smugglers involved in trafficking narcotic substances through railway routes. In just six months, 156kg of ganja has been seized and 24 drug couriers have been caught from Delhi-bound trains between Jhansi-Delhi route.
Most of the arrests were made from Bengaluru-New Delhi Rajdhani Express, Andhra Pradesh Express, Karnataka Sampark Kranti Express trains.
Speaking to TOI, RPF’s senior commandant Prakash Kumar Panda said, “The railway route of Visakhapatnam to Delhi via Bhopal, Jhansi, Agra, Mathura is one of the most used routes by drug cartel couriers. A very strong drug cartel is working from Visakhapatnam, which hires young men, women and even teenagers in order to work as a courier to deliver the contrabad to the National Capital Region (NCR). For every successful delivery of the cannabis consignment from Rajahmundry via Visakhapatnam to Delhi, the individuals are paid Rs 5,000 to Rs 15,000 each.”
“Over the period, we developed our intelligence at ground level, which helped us during Covid-19 lockdown to catch drug couriers who were travelling in groups of two-three members as normal passenger to smuggle drugs. Due to continuous crackdown and intelligence gathering, our counterparts in Andhra Pradesh made some arrests couple of days back. We expect to reach to the kingpin of the gang soon,” he added.
Explaining the modus operandi, GRP inspector Vijay Singh, who conducted several joint operations with the RPF team said, “They travel to Visakhapatnam via flight or in a premium-class train as genuine passengers from Delhi and return with contraband in sleeper or AC coaches of Delhi-bound express trains. The gang also use Rajdhani Express to smuggle cannabis, but frequent police raids forced the gang to change their tactics. Now, they alight at Agra Cantt or Mathura and opt for taxi services for Delhi via Aligarh and Ghaziabad or via Yamuna Expressway.”
The joint operations carried out by sleuths of railway protection force and government railway police seized 194 kg cannabis since January.
However, data of RPF Agra division revealed, that 46 couriers of drug cartels were arrested from whom 41.5 lakh worth of cannabis was seized between September 2019 to August 2020, while GRP Agra division claimed, that 519 kg of cannabis was recovered of worth Rs 51.9 lakh between February 2019 to July 2020 from 52 couriers.
On August 22, a Mathura youth identified as Rohit Kumar was arrested by RPF New Delhi after he alighted with 72.5 kg of ganja from train. He had smuggled the contraband from Visakhapatnam and was possing himself to be RPF constable.



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