Assam: 'Underground' cough syrup factory busted in Goalpara, 3 arrested

Tinsukia: Assam police busted a mini ‘underground’ factory with the seizure of drugs and psychotropic substances worth crores in Goalpara district on Thursday.
Three persons were arrested in this connection.

Speaking with EastMojo, Goalpara SP Rakesh Reddy said that based on a specific input on Thursday morning, a police team raided the house of Jahangir Alom and busted a mini factory to make codeine-based cough syrup.

“The police unearthed a 100-sq-ft clandestine room under his bedroom, which was being used to manufacture the cough syrup, with three machines used for labelling and sealing, and about 400 litres of raw materials in nine drums used to prepare the cough syrup,” the SP said.

The police unearthed a 100-sq-ft clandestine room under the bedroom of the accused, which was used to manufacture the cough syrup

“The police also found huge quantities of drugs and psychotropic substances worth Rs 10 crore in the international market,” Reddy said, adding, “The recoveries include heroin, Yaba tablets, Nitrozepam tablets, Spasmo tablets, Pentazocine injection and Tramadol, besides cash worth Rs 91,600 from his house.”

The police also found huge quantities of drugs and psychotropic substances worth Rs 10 crore in the international market

The police have seized a JCB, used for digging the underground room, a Bolero Pickup van, suspected to have been used to carry the drugs and raw materials, a Maruti Alto car, a motorcycle and an e-rickshaw from the house of the accused.

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According to Reddy, three persons, including Alom, his wife and brother-in-law, have been apprehended and are being interrogated. The other accused have been identified as Saddam Hussain and Sahina Yasmin.

“Alom is also involved in a police case in the neighbouring state of Meghalaya registered under several sections of the Indian Penal Code and NDPS Act,” he added.

According to the police, three persons have been apprehended in this connection and are being interrogated

Codeine-based cough syrup — the scale of the problem

Codeine is a pain killer and an addictive opiate and prodrug of morphine used to treat pain, coughing, and diarrhea and is commonly abused. It is found naturally in the sap of the opium poppy. Taken in excess, it can cause schizophrenia and organ failure.

Codeine-based cough syrup is commonly mixed with soft drinks and often consumed by students.

In 2016, India banned multiple brands of Codeine-based cough syrup, including US pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc’s Corex cough syrup and Abbott Laboratories’ Phensedyl, after a government panel found they had “no therapeutic justification”.

The ban came following reports of addiction in cough syrup with codeine.

Meanwhile, commenting on the busting of the mini cough syrup factory, Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma tweeted: “#FightAgainstDrugs In a major breakthrough @assampolice nabbed a serial offender Jahangir Alom at Bhalukdubi and seized drugs & psychotropic substances worth Rs 10 cr. Alom ran an underground mini factory to make codeine based cough syrup. Determined to eliminate drugs cartel.”

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