New Delhi, May 17 (PTI) The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Sunday claimed to have busted an inter-state gang of opium traffickers after it seized 31 kg opium from a truck plying under the garb of ferrying essential goods during the nationwide lockdown. The federal agency arrested four people including the alleged 'kingpin' of the racket -- Manoj Dangi from Chatra district of Jharkhand.
NCB Deputy Director (operations) K P S Malhotra said sleuths of the agency intercepted a truck bearing a Punjab registration number on National Highway-19 in Fatehpur district of Uttar Pradesh on Saturday.
'A total of 31 kgs of opium was recovered from the truck. The consignment was packed in tarpaulin and concealed inside the hood of the vehicle that was operating in the garb of carrying essential commodities during the ongoing lockdown,' Malhotra said.
The nationwide lockdown was first imposed from March 25 to April 14, then extended until May 3, and again extended to May 17 with an aim to prevent the spread of coronavirus that has claimed over 2,870 lives and infected more than 90,900 people in the country.
The consignment belongs Dangi, who is a notorious inter-state drug trafficker hailing from Jharkhand, he said.
The four were arrested under the provision of Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act (NDPS), he added.
NCB officials said the illicit production of opium in India is mainly concentrated in Jharkhand, Bihar, West Bengal, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. Last year, the anti-narcotics agencies destroyed more than 10,000 hectares of illicit opium cultivation in the country.
'As per the drug abuse survey conducted by Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment, there are 2.3 crore users of opioids in the country,' Malhotra said.
'The most abused derivative of opioids is Heroin which is produced after necessary chemical and physical alterations,' he added. PTI NES RHL