'High profit margin & online access to production methods responsible'

Mumbai: Easily available information about production methods and high profit margins have made the synthetic drug mephedrone or MD popular among traffickers in Mumbai and neighbouring cities, officials believe.

Of late, mephedrone is among the most seized drugs by the Anti-Narcotics Cell of Mumbai Police, said an official. This trend is being observed in neighbouring cities too, he said.

The Mumbai customs destroyed a total of 2,043 kg of seized drugs in June 2022.

It included 499.5 kg of ephedrine, 882.69 kg of methamphetamine and 238.2 kg of mephedrone, the official said.

One reason mephedrone has become popular is that information about how to manufacture it is easily available on the Internet, the senior police official said.

The manufacturing cost of mephedrone is said to be around Rs 50 per gram, while it is sold for anything between Rs 1,500 to Rs 2,000 per gram, he said.

"The profit margin is higher than that for any other drug," said the official.

In the last one month alone, Mumbai Police has seized 4.626 kg of mephedrone, valued Rs 6.38 crore in illicit markets.

At least 99 persons were arrested in 83 drug related cases in the metropolis in June 2022.

Distribution chains of mephedrone traffickers involved African nationals too, police found. The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), a central agency, has seized mephedrone worth crores of rupees in the past few years in Mumbai and neighboring cities, said the official.

In October 2021, the NCB seized 505 grams of MD worth Rs 1 crore from J J Marg area in South Mumbai. Probe revealed that a Nigerian national was manufacturing the drugs in his rented apartment in a suburb, the official said.

Earlier African drug peddlers operating in Mumbai were more into cocaine peddling, but now they have turned to mephedrone, Ecstasy and MDMA, he said.

African drug traffickers in the city form small distribution cartels of their own and generally don't rely on local peddlers, he said.

Interrogating them is more challenging because of the language barrier, and sometimes they pretend not to understand the language even if they know Hindi or English or even a little bit of Marathi, said

the official.

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