Andhra launches major crackdown on cannabis smuggling gangs

Visakhapatnam: Rural police, in coordination with their counterparts in neighboring states, have stepped up the hunt to track down the leaders of the cannabis smuggling gangs.

Vizag ganja, famous for his sheelvati brand, has reached the most remote corners of the country. It is now sold on the streets of Hyderabad.

All fingers are on the Visakhapatnam agency, the main source of cannabis and its derivatives. Nalgonda police shooting at smugglers caught the nation’s attention. Much of the blame was placed on the Vizag police for failing to catch the leaders.

“We are not far behind. We launched a special operation to catch kingpins last year. We have broken many chains by arresting key players,” said Police Commissioner B Krishna Rao.

He said that in the past year they had registered nearly 500 cases and arrested more than 1,000 smugglers, including leaders from different states.

Sources from the police department said most of the ganja smugglers were from Tamil Naidu, Odisha, Hyderabad and Maharashtra. Sources said the cops grab the tails, book a case and forget. They also said the catches represented less than 30 percent of the total harvest.

Social activists said innocent tribal workers and women were being sent to jail for possession of contraband. However, the main leaders escaped the net by bribing the police and the staff of the special law enforcement office.

“Whichever party comes to power, the leaders immediately join the smugglers and earn money,” said Mr. Rajababu, vice-chairman of the Joint Action Committee of the adivasis unions.

Ganja smugglers buy grass from tribal pockets for between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000 per kg. They sold it between 30,000 and 50,000 Rs per kg in the big cities. Police said some ganja traffickers obtained LSD and some other drugs by trading weed in Goa and Mumbai.

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