Nigerian nationals top the list of foreigners arrested for drug smuggling in Navi Mumbai over the past five years.
Deputy Commissioner of Police of Special Branch, Tushar Dorshy told Hindustan Times that a total of 66 narcotic related cases were registered between 2012 and April 2017 from the anti-narcotic cell of Navi Mumbai police in the city and Nigerian nationals were involved in 14 of these cases.
He also disclosed that since 2012, the police have taken into custody 14 foreign nationals for smuggling drugs to the city and 13 of them were from Nigeria, while one was from Ghana.
Just a week ago, the police arrested one Nigerian at Kopar Khairane who had come to sell mephedrone rock and powder. Around 25 gram of the drug in powder form and 85 gram in rock form collectively worth Rs 3.30 lakh was seized from his possession.
According to the police, as far as foreign nationals are concerned, several Bangladeshis were also arrested in the city in different crimes. But they were mainly into fake currency notes scam, cheating, theft and robbery.
None of them were arrested for trading drugs.
According to Dorshy, “When it comes to drug smuggling by foreign nationals, by and large all the criminals are from Africa in general and from Nigeria in particular.
“The number of foreign nationals including those from Africa has also increased in the city over the past two years.”
The police said that these Nigerians work in networks which also operate in other cities such as Delhi, Mumbai and Pune.
Apart from their countrymen, several Indians are also working in those networks.
Another Police Inspector from the anti-narcotic cell, Maya More, said, “These criminals collect their drugs from people in their networks and then smuggle those to different cities.
“The biggest problem faced while trying to get details about their business is the language issue. We cannot interrogate them properly after their arrests, as many of them cannot speak proper English or any Indian language.”
Officials from the city special branch told the newspaper that presently around 950 foreign nationals from nearly 70 counties are staying in Navi Mumbai and around 50 of them are Africans.
Police sub-inspector from the anti-narcotic cell, Amit Shellar, also added, “Most of the Nigerians arrested for drug smuggling, had come to India on a business visa. Initially, they would export garments from Mumbai to their country. However, when their business would fail, they would trade drugs for easy money.”
Also the crime branch official, said that such networks are operating in the city through word-of-mouth publicity.
An officer said, “They initially target students from the affluent families and help in forming a habit of taking the drug. Once they create a good number of customers, they keep selling it to them.”