Drug trade, the dark side of Vizag

City has witnessed 67 drug busts; 2,300 kg ganja seized this year so far

The recent raids by the Special Enforcement Bureau (SEB) has exposed the dark side of the drug world that is flourishing in the city’s underbelly.

With marijuana (ganja) flowing into the city from the Visakha Agency, where it is grown rampantly in the inaccessible hills allegedly under the watchful eyes of the Maoist, the use of the weed, especially among the youth in the age group of 17 and 30 years, has become a concern for the police.

Anti-drug week

“In an attempt to check the menace, the State government has declared anti-drug week from December 15 to 22. Drugs are an area of concern for us and we are working on it,” said Commissioner of Police Manish Kumar Sinha.

This year so far, the city has witnessed 67 cases pertaining to drug busts and about 2,300 kgs of ganja was seized. Stepping up the heat, the SEB has booked about 20 cases in the last one month alone. Like ganja, the availability of other drugs such as LSD, hashish, MMDA, Fortwin and Ketamine is also a concern, said ADCP (SEB) Ajitha Vejendla.

Dark web

In the recent times there were drug busts, where the accused had sourced drugs such as LSD and MMDA through the dark web and payment were made in Bitcoins. It is learnt that drugs were even sourced from abroad such as Indonesia, through the dark web.

But, the worrying factor for the law enforcement agencies is the profile of the users.

Most them are in the age group of 17 to 30 and about 80% of them are college students, sources said, adding that drugs were freely available in some premium colleges, especially in the hostels and many of the addicts themselves had turned to peddlers to fund their vice.

Coming to marijuana, Visakhapatnam is turning to be the logistic hub. Ganja is primarily transported to the plain areas from the interior parts of Visakha Agency. From the city, it is transported through rail and road to other States such as Maharashtra, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Goa, Haryana and Delhi.

Distribution network

The District Police and the SEB have seized tonnes of ganja at various points, but a good quantity slips through and is offloaded in the city for trade.

The police and the SEB feel that an organised network is involved in the trade.

It is learnt that there may be a few kingpins who procure the ganja from middlemen in the Agency area and after getting it transported to the city, it is distributed through a well-oiled network of peddlers including women from areas such as Kobbarithota and Allipuram.

The quantity that is smuggled into the city varies between 10 kg and 30 kg. The weed is packed in 50 gm to 200 gm plastic sachets that cost in the range of ₹100 and ₹500.

“Peddlers caught in the raids have confirmed that while a ₹100 sachet for consumption in a day or two, ₹500 packet is for a week. The same may cost about ₹2,000 and ₹5,000 in Bengaluru or Delhi,” said Ms. Ajitha.

Cheaper price is making the stuff available and many addicts, especially students have turned to peddlers, to fund their vices, said a senior officer from City Task Force.

Another area of concern for the enforcement agencies is that many young peddlers are smuggling weed to places such as Goa and Bengaluru in small quantities and exchanging it for other drugs such as LSD and MMDA and bringing them back to the city.

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