Online drug trafficking from India on rise, says top official

March 5th, 2008 - 8:23 pm ICT by admin  

By Sahil Makkar
New Delhi, March 5 (IANS) Narcotics traffickers in Europe and Africa are increasingly procuring online from India pharmaceutical drugs with psychotropic substances, officials here say. Websites offering such pharmaceutical products are mushrooming in the country, K.C. Verma, director of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), told IANS.

Once they book orders from customers in other countries, the Indian syndicates send the drugs by post after affixing misleading labels on packets to evade the export restrictions on drugs, Verma said.

Legal export of psychotropic substances requires authorisation from the Narcotics Commissioner.

The misuse of Internet for advertising, selling and promoting drugs and to supply information on illicit drugs “is a global problem but it has taken alarming proportion in India”, Verma said, speaking on the sidelines of a meeting organised by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Among the drugs most in demand are Diazepam, Dextropropoxyphene Nitrazepam and Buprenorphine.

A report released here Wednesday by the International Narcotics Control Board at the meeting said that drug trafficking cartels mostly involving West African criminal groups were using India as a major transit point for Europe-bound drug consignments. Heroin is also smuggled into India.

“Internationally controlled pharmaceutical preparations manufactured locally in India are increasingly being diverted to some European countries and the US,” the report said.

“Each year the US Customs and Border Protection intercepts in the mail system thousands of illegal parcels containing pharmaceutical preparations and marked ‘for personal use’. Most of those pharmaceutical preparations appear to have been sold illegally over the Internet,” it added.

UNODC representative in South Asia Gary Lewis said that smuggling into Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka of pharmaceutical drugs containing psychotropic substances originating in India was a major problem in these countries.

The UN has urged India to reinforce its control over national and international trade in psychotropic substances.

Rajiv Walia, a project coordinator with UNODC, said there was evidence that organised crime gangs were involved in trafficking Amphetamine Type Stimulants from India.

In 2006, the NCB and the Central Bureau of Narcotics of India dismantled a clandestine ATS laboratory in the vicinity of New Delhi.

In February 2007, an international drug trafficking operation involved in distributing psychotropic substances and money laundering through Internet was broken up.

The report said that the use of courier services for drug trafficking seemed to be on the rise.

In 2007, drug traffickers used Bangladeshi and Indian courier services to ship illicit drugs to Canada and South Africa. A parcel with 550 kg of ephedrine was seized in Bangladesh. It was destined for Canada.

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