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Pune police bust international narcotics cartel link in 'Meow Meow' drug seizure worth Rs 3,500 cr

Pune police bust international narcotics cartel link in 'Meow Meow' drug seizure worth Rs 3,500 cr
Last Updated 21 February 2024, 17:24 IST

Pune: A probe into the seizure of a whopping 1,700 kg of mephedrone, commonly known as 'Meow Meow', valued around Rs 3,500 crore, has revealed the emergence of an international narcotics cartel link, a top police officer said on Wednesday.

Pune Police Commissioner Amitesh Kumar said that some consignments of the drug were earlier shipped to London, deviously concealed within ready-to-eat food packets, for which a Delhi-based courier company was roped in.

The Police seized the cache from Pune and multiple sites in Delhi and eight people have been arrested so far, even as investigators are looking at forward and backward linkages of this drug haul.

“We have successfully unveiled the national and international dimensions of this case. Our teams are diligently working to dismantle the supply chain associated with this operation,” the Pune Police Commissioner said.

Seizures in Pune and Delhi totaled 720 kg and 970 kg, respectively, with a combined value estimated between Rs 3,000 crore and Rs 3,500 crore.

The probe exposed the involvement of a Delhi-based courier company in the drug trafficking network, with drugs discreetly shipped to London within food packets.

Delhi and Pune police jointly carried out raids in the national capital's Kotla Mubarakpur and Hauz Khas areas.

In a related development, two key suspects, Bhimaji Sabale (owner of the MIDC unit) and Yuvraj Bhujbal (chemical engineer), were arrested for their roles in the drug’s production and distribution. The duo has been remanded in Police custody till February 29 by a local court.

Bhujbal is alleged to have provided raw materials and other formula for manufacturing 'Meow Meow' drug and under his instructions, the produced contraband was distributed in various places, including Pune, Delhi, and other cities. The investigation also led to the closure of Earthchem Laboratory.

Police had previously arrested three individuals, Haider Shaikh, Vaibhav Mane, and Ajay Karosiya, for alleged possession of the drug.

"During the investigation, it was found that a large quantity of the drug was stored in a town called Kupwad in the Sangli district of Western Maharashtra. So far, more than 140 kg of MD has been recovered, and one person has been detained. We are interrogating the suspect regarding the seizure of such a large quantity of contraband from a godown-like structure in Kupwad," a senior police officer said.

Mephedrone is a synthetic stimulant often associated with the 'rave party culture' for its euphoric effects. It's popularly known as 'Meow Meow'. It is majorly abused by youngsters.

"Eight individuals have been arrested so far and investigations into their involvement are in progress. Multiple Pune police teams have been strategically placed across the country in connection to this case," Kumar added.

Initiating the inquiry with a mephedrone haul worth Rs 2 crore, authorities have now uncovered a staggering 1,700 kg of the illicit substance.

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(Published 21 February 2024, 17:24 IST)

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