Kochi: In one of the biggest drug hauls, a special squad of the excise on Wednesday seized 6.5 kg of charas worth around Rs 13 crore and arrested an Ernakulam native suspected to be an international drug carrier smuggling it from Nepal. Charas is the name given to a hashish form of cannabis which is handmade in the Indian subcontinent and Jamaica.
It is made from the resin of a live cannabis plant. The squad members caught Antony Varghese Judeson, 52, a native of Puthuvype, after a run and chase at Moolampilly on Container Terminal Road after he pointed a pistol at them and tried to escape. The sleuths, in return, pointed the service revolver and overpowered him before handcuffing. The arrest followed information collected from around 50 persons including his recent customers and the leads from narcotics secret group under deputy excise commissioner K. Chandrapalan.
He was trying to sell the remaining items in a chocolate form in bulk amounts when he caught red-handed.
According to Mr Chandrapalan, the contraband seized was smuggled from Nepal and reached Kerala via Uttar Pradesh and Karnataka roads.
“He had smuggled in 10 kg of charas from in the last deal, and somehow escaped from our officers. During interrogation, we found him having no helpers, and he used to drive through Bengaluru, Andhra Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to get the item from Nepal all the way. To distribute the item in Kerala, he used ‘rent-a-car’ business. He also said that drugs and weapons could easily be transferred from Nepal and cross the Indian border without any checks,” he said.
“We have received information about the heavy flow of drugs from Nepal and alerts will be sent to the central authorities. The state government will be informed first, and alerts will be sent to the Union government regarding the route and flow of drugs.” According to officials, the accused had planned to form a cartel with criminal activities that help drug business to flourish. Besides, he also planned to flee to Nepal after killing officers who confront him. For this, he always kept a fully-loaded pistol with him.
The seized stuff is suspected to be ‘Bilaspur Charas’ as it is “Red Label” grade, officials said. The cannabis plant, from which the charas is made, grows wild throughout northern India along the stretch of the Himalayas and is an important cash crop for the local people. After a month-long lookout for the accused, the arrest was made by special squad inspector P. Sreeraj along with preventive officer K. R. Ram Prasad, intelligence preventive officer A. S. Jayan, squad member Roby and civil excise officers P. X. Ruban, M. M. Arun Kumar and Sidhardhan....