A huge network of drug dealers, involved in smuggling cannabis to Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, has been unearthed by Bangladesh detectives. Besides smuggling cannabis abroad, the same bunch of criminals are bringing large quantity of this contraband drug to Bangladesh from abroad. Talking to the Bangladesh Post exclusively, Additional Deputy Commissioner Md Shajahan Shaju, who supervises anti-cannabis operations said, “We have arrested some members of the drug syndicate who are dominating the illegal trading of cannabis across the country.”
He said that only between September of last year and 17 July this year, the anti-narcotics team of DB (North) led by AC Mahabub Alam seized 1,311 kilograms of cannabis. The team also arrested 40 aider and abettor of the cannabis network during this time. In response to a query, ADC Shajahan said, “During this period of time, we have seized ten vehicles that were being used for smuggling cannabis.”
Assistant Commissioner of Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DB-North) Mahabub Alam, who led all of these operations said, “After grilling around forty members of cannabis racket, we came to know that there is an influential godfather behind the scene.” “We are trying to arrest him as soon as possible. But we came to know that the godfather is controlling the syndicate staying outside the country,” he added.
Sometimes he stays in Saudi Arabia, sometimes in Dubai and sometimes in India, AC Mahabub said. Even when he returns to the country, he never moves with cannabis-laden trucks to avoid arrest. He has appointed some coordinators who on behalf of him receive every lot of cannabis at Bijoynagar upazila of Brahmanbaria district near India - Bangladesh boarder.
The syndicate buys per kilogram of cannabis at Taka 15000 from their Indian suppliers. Later, they bring the cannabis to the adjacent areas of the capital and some other districts including Mymensingh, Netrakona, Tangail, Joypurhat and Gazipur district where they have secrete depots. Some dealers buy per kilogram cannabis at Taka 20,000 from the main racket. In case of best grade cannabis it costs Taka 25,000 per kilogram.
Law enforcing sources claimed that the major cannabis racketeers collect the drugs from bordering Bijoynagar upazila under Brahmanbaria district. In the district, there are two villages—Singairbill and Nolgoria. Most of the people of these two villages directly or indirectly are involved in cannabis rackets to earn fat money overnight.
Earlier, the syndicate would smuggle cannabis through Ashuganj of Brahmanbaria and Bhairab of Kishoreganj District. Some corrupt police officials of the two districts would assist the drug traders in exchange of bribe. But recently the drug dealers have changed the route for reasons not known, sources said. A detective personnel opined on condition of anonymity that if the Border Guard of Bangladesh (BGB) enhances monitoring in the Bijoynagor border of Brahmanbaria, it will be quite impossible for cannabis to enter the country. More than eighty percent of smuggled cannabis enter in the country through this border, he added.
According to the sources, the syndicate uses their own vehicles for smuggling cannabis for safety reasons. They modify the vehicles to keep cannabis inside them. Law enforcing agencies often fail to detect the cannabis in the check posts as they keep them in the highly secretive places of these specially modified vehicles.
On January 11 this year, a team of DB led by AC Mahbub raided in front of the Government Printing Press in the city’s Tejgaon area and nabbed Anwar Hossain and Md Chamir Miah with 130 kilogram cannabis. However, Md Malo Miah, son of Sadek Miah, hailing from Nolgoria of Bijoynagor Upazila under Brahmanbaria district managed to escape.
The arrested duo disclosed that Malo Miah from Nolgoria of Bijoynagor Upazila under Brahmanbaria district was main coordinator of the operation. Two weeks later, the same cannabis syndicate was smuggling another lot to Tejgaon Railway Slum. But AC Mahabub came to know the secret information. His team raided in front of Mothijeel TNT School on January 27 this year. DB team arrested Md Jamal Miah, son of Siddique Miah and Rowshon Miah, son of late Don Miah of Nolgoria village under Bijoynagor Upazila of Brahmanbaria district, Nabi Hossain, son of Safi Miah, of Bhoirab village under Bhoirab Upazila of Kishorganj district. However, another drug trader Rasel managed to escape.
Just after two weeks, a DB team led by AC Mahbub intercepted a truck in front of Airport Police Box on February 10 this year. But ignoring the signal, the cannabis laden truck attempted to escape. However, DB team halted the truck at Airport Link Road and arrested three members of cannabis racket—Md Abu Taher Bhuyian, Md Mokter Khandaker and Md Saiful Islam with 150 kilograms cannabis. However, Rasel, another member of the racket managed to escape.
AC Mahabub said, “We are continuously conducting drives to arrest the masterminds. But they are yet to be nabbed as they often stay abroad.” Responding to a question he said, “The absconding godfather runs his four groups in cannabis smuggling. Each group smuggles at least four lots every month.” Deputy Commissioner (DC) of DB-North division Moshiur Rahman told the Bangladesh Post, “Due to our combing operations, some drugs, especially heroine and Yaba have become almost unobtainable in the country. For that cannabis has become the mother drug item for addicts.”
He further said they are continuously conducting drives against all kinds of illegal drugs. Even yesterday (Tuesday) they seized 55 kilograms of contraband cannabis from the capital which were kept inside a gas cylinder.
“After grilling some arrested drug peddlers, we came to know that cannabis are being commercially cultivated in some Indian hills. Those cannabis enter Bangladesh in various way. But due to our anti-cannabis operations, one kilogram cannabis is currently being sold at around Taka 40,000 per kg which used to be sold once at Taka 4,000 per kg,” he said.
About the absconding masterminds, the boss of the DB’s North Division said that some masterminds sometimes go in hiding in different Indian states including Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Tripura. “There are some bordering areas where we have no access. Most of the cannabis enter Bangladesh through India. Those who live in the bording areas become godfathers of drug peddlers,” he said.
Responding to a question he said, “It becomes tough for us to nab them if the godfathers go into hiding in remote jungle or in Indian territories. We have some information about them. We shall be able to arrest them whenever we get a chance.”