Mizoram - trapped in deadly cross-border drug trade

A major surge in seizures of Pseudoephedrine in Mizoram reveals that the hilly frontier state of India has become a key player in the international clandestine “Party Drug’ trade based in Myanmar providing cross-border manpower and facilities to the nefarious operations. Mizoram is in the neighborhood of the dreaded Golden Triangle.

The fact that many arrested persons happen to be bona-fide citizens of the state unlike earlier when Mizo organizations held the Burmese migrants mainly responsible for drug smuggling has sent alarm bells ringing across law enforcement agencies.

 

Seizures began last year. State Excise and Narcotics department Principle Information Officer, Ngurchhungnunga Sailo informed that altogether11150130 tablets of the drug were seized in 2011. This year the figure till June is 16434477 tablets. A strip of ten tablets costs about seven Rupees at source. This figure does not include the 161 kgs of ephedrine seized by sleuths in Delhi, which was meant to be sent through the Mizoram border outpost.

The pharmaceutical drug is a valued smugglers item for its chemical composition containing 60-68 per cent ephedrine, which is extracted to be used for manufacturing Amphetamine type stimulants (ATS) or ‘party drugs’ as they are colloquially known. The final product is sent back to the Indian metros and even as far off as Europe, say several United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) reports over the years.

“Pseudoephedrine, a pharmaceutical drug is going to Myanmar from Mizoram,” Sailo confirmed.  Smugglers obtain the legal medicine manufactured by various companies in tablet form from any of the cow-belt states of northern India. The tablets are stripped, bundled into polythene bags for easy concealment and carried en route  by air or land to Mizoram from where it is sent across to the neighboring country where drug dealers process them in the ubiquitous  ATS  factories along the border. Many of them are mobile to escape detection by the law.

The favoured route is Zokhawthar, Champhai, one of the official border-trade points between India and Myanmar but, anti-narco officials say, it could be from any other place as the countries share 510 kms of mostly porous border.

Sailo pointed out that the state has also called upon the country’s Drug Controller’s office to help the fight against misuse of legal medicinal drugs but so far there has been no action from that end. Apart from Pseudoephedrine, along with other states Mizoram is battling against youth addiction to other pharmaceutical drugs such as spasmo proxyvon, parvonspas etc. and heroin.

On September 22 the anti-narcotics sleuths caught a haul of pseudoephedrine tablets worth Rs.24,43,200 lakhs in Aizawl, the state capital. Two women carriers were arrested under the Narcotics DPS Act, both bona-fide residents of the state. Based on their statements more was seized from a properly licensed drug store owned by Steven Lianzova. The consignment had been bought from Delhi en route to Mynamar via Guwahati by air and by road transport to Aizawl.

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