Smugglers using river route to Akra to avoid cops
With the Special Task Force (STF) of the Kolkata Police tightening vigil to check the smuggling of drugs and fake currency, members of drug peddling racket from North Bengal have started using a river route to reach Akra in South 24 Parganas.
The police came to know that drug peddlers and members of fake currency rackets now skip the route in which they need to pass through Kolkata and the urban part of the Howrah district that is under the jurisdiction of the Howrah Police Commissionerate.
The reason behind avoiding the prior routes is that the vigil against them has been intensified in the areas under the jurisdiction of the Kolkata Police and Howrah Police Commissionerate.
Thus, in a bid to ensure timely delivery of drugs along with fake currency without getting arrested, the peddlers from North Bengal, mainly Malda now get down at any station before the train enters Howrah Station.
Many peddlers are also from Murshidabad district as well. By some means they reach Chengail, a village situated in the bank of river Hooghly in Howrah at a distance of around 34 km from Howrah Station.
Around 25 boats operate across river Hooghly to carry sand from Chengail to Pujali Ghat and Balur Ghat in South 24 Parganas on the other side of the river. A section of boatmen work hand-in-gloves with the peddlers and help them smuggle drugs in their bags under the load of sand. The peddlers mainly choose afternoon and late night to smuggle the drugs across the river.
Once the “material” enters South 24 Parganas, it is not a difficult task for the peddlers to take it to Akra to hand it over to their counterparts. From Akra, the heroin of different qualities gets distributed to different parts of the state. The police have also come across a new technique of carrying drugs. A police officer said that the peddlers now create a space within the sponge in a helmet where they carry drugs. Hardly anyone understands when they carry drugs in their helmets. Recently the police have come to know about the technique from their sources.
The police have recently come to know about a woman who is running the racket in Akra. Sources said that the police are in search of the woman and are trying to collect as much as possible information about her.
There is a canal that passes close to Budge Budge police station. The police had initially thought that the fishing boats in the canals were also being used to smuggle drugs. But preliminary investigation revealed that the fishermen had refused to get involved in such activities. The reason being police would not allow them to carry on fishing in the area if anyone of them get arrested and their livelihood would get affected.
It may be mentioned that in September officers of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) had arrested four people when they were attempting to sell heroin at Mahestala in South 24 Parganas. Around 1.41 kg high quality heroine that worth around Rs 20 lakh was seized.