The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) busted an international drug trafficking ring in Bengaluru, where pseudoephedrine, a controlled substance, was being smuggled through baby bags to South African countries. On November 11, acting on a tip, the NCB learned that pseudoephedrine was being smuggled out of Bengaluru, and two parcels were ready to be transported from Amritahalli in the city.
The NCB conducted raids in Amritahalli and seized 6.87 kilograms of pseudoephedrine worth Rs 20 lakh. The drug was concealed between two layers of cloth in a consignment of baby bags. The NCB's probe revealed that the pseudoephedrine was being smuggled to South African countries. The bureau had been conducting surveillance on two suspects based on intelligence they received since November 11. On November 18, a team of NCB sleuths arrested the consignors of the baby bags, D Shukla and G Maria, who were living in the same house in Bengaluru.
NCB sources said that Shukla and Maria were mules for the kingpins, two Nigerian nationals B Onovo and C Okwor. After surveilling the two men, the NCB officials arrested them on Monday.
Ephedrine and pseudoephedrine are controlled substances, which are sold exclusively to drug manufacturing companies. These chemicals are intermediary drugs, used for the manufacture of detergents, perfumes, dyes etc. However, pseudoephedrine can be diverted and used for the manufacture of amphetamine-type stimulants like MDMA, also known as ecstasy, which have hallucinogenic properties.
NCB sources said that the past seizures of controlled substances like ephedrine and pseudoephedrine were mostly being shipped to South East Asian countries and that the traffickers are now mostly transporting them to South African countries. "Of late, it has been found that these controlled substances are also being illegally exported to African destinations, especially South Africa, where the possibility of clandestine production of ATS cannot be ruled out," the NCB said in a press note.