The three accused in police custody Credit: Rishu Kalantri

Tinsukia: Three persons have been arrested in Assam’s Dibrugarh town with over 1 kg of cocaine valued at Rs 1 crore in the international market.

Cocaine is a powerfully addictive stimulant drug made from the leaves of the coca plant native to South America. People snort the powder through the nose, or rub it into their gums. Others dissolve it in water and inject it into the bloodstream. Effects may include loss of contact with reality, an intense feeling of happiness, or agitation.

Cocaine worth Rs 1 crore was seized in Assam’s Tinsukia district

Just like a Bollywood screenplay, police laid a trap wherein sleuths from the force posed as buyers and struck a deal with the drug peddlers after several rounds of negotiations for an entire week. On Sunday, a back-up team arrested the peddlers red-handed at the time of delivering the packet of cocaine to policemen in plainclothes — an operation that went for hours as the peddlers kept changing the location of the deal.

The drug haul came days after Dibrugarh police arrested a youth with 500 grams of ganja from the town in January this year.

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Dibrugarh, in upper Assam, is an education hub with a university and one of the oldest medical colleges of the state attracting thousands of youths, who are the target customers of drug mafia, every year.

According to Dibrugarh SP Sreejith T, they contacted the the buyers after they got a lead. “We were in touch with them since one week. But, it’s only yesterday, they agreed for the deal and gave us a time and location to deliver cocaine in the heart of the town,” he said, adding: “We laid a trap and kept several teams as backup to catch them up in case they changed plan. Our doubts turned into reality when they kept changing place of deal before finally giving in.”

“One of our teams, headed by Partha Prathim Das, and comprising of sub-inspector Gaurav Chutia and other ranks, nabbed them red-handed as the peddlers delivered the packet of cocaine (weighing 1.03 kg) at Milan Nagar,” said Sreejith T said, adding, “They brought the cocaine in a small plastic cover with vegetables on top of the cocaine. The police seized two motorcycles with an Assam registration number and three mobile phones.”

The arrested persons have been identified as Girish Sonowal, hailing from Duliajan, Pratheek Bora and Manoj Kr Sonowal, both residents of Barbaruah on the outskirts of Dibrugarh town. One of them is a labourer working with a construction company, another one is a farmer and the third one is unemployed.

According to Sreejith T, the peddlers were being paid Rs 40,000 per person for one act of peddling. “We raided the house of his handler on the intervening night of Sunday and Monday but he is on run. We are interrogating the arrested persons but they are yet to open up,” he said.

Meanwhile, the volume of cocaine, an expensive drug, recovered from the trio suggests that they are into business of drug peddling for quite some time now, he added.

Responding to a question by EastMojo, Sreejith T ruled out penetration of cocaine in Dibrugarh town. “We feel Dibrugarh is being used as a transit point as of now. However, we will keep a strict vigil on parties, university and colleges,” he said.

The haul of cocaine in such a big quantity has raised major concerns among the security forces given the fact that coke (another term used for cocaine) is gaining popularity among upper-class Indian youngsters between the age group of 20 to 35. A three-fold rise in seizure of cocaine has been witnessed in the national capital in the past three years and has penetrated in other areas of NCR, besides Punjab and Haryana.

Will the police be able to crack the drug racket active in the region before cocaine penetrates into the youngsters of Dibrugarh is what time will reveal.

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