KOCHI: Last week, a team led by Kochi excise circle inspector T K Sasi Kumar arrested a youth, Ajmal alias Machu, near Thoppumpady BOT Bridge with 4.43kg of ganja. On interrogation, it was found that he was one of the main ganja suppliers to the inmates of prisons across the state. Moreover, the 24-year-old was a history-sheeter with 24 narcotics cases registered against him. When asked why he was repeatedly breaking the law at such a young age, he smiled and said in a relaxed manner that narcotic trade brought him good fortune and he would continue doing it once he gets released from the jail, police said.
According to a senior excise official in the Ernakulam division, Ajmal was a typical example of hundreds of youngsters in the city who are engaged in narcotics tradeand are least concerned about the legal repercussions. Officials said that the number of newbies, who had either ventured into drug-peddling by their own or being trapped, was on the rise in the city.
Figures with the excise department show that more than 70% of persons arrested in narcotics cases this year at various excise offices in Ernakulam were aged between 18-25 years. Out of the total 544 persons arrested in 511 cases this year till June end, 333 cases were against those in the age group of 18 to 25 years and 372 youngsters were arrested. Officials said most of them were held for selling ganja. The amount of ganja seized from these youths amounted to nearly 50kg. Other contraband included 102g LSD, 31.5g MDMA, 107g hashish oil, 34g heroinand 1,026 Nitrazepam tablets.
“Almost all of them were either students or college dropouts who willingly began drug-peddling as side business along with their studies for leading a luxury life. In the past when we arrested youths, most of them became nervous and pleaded for not registering cases. But now, they are not even shameful and proudly present themselves before the media. They are ready to face the law. This is a very dangerous trend. The figures would be much higher if data from other enforcement agencies are collected,” said excise assistant commissioner T A Ashok Kumar, who is also the Vimukthi manager of Ernakulam division.
The department has requested the government to consider Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) cases registered by the excise, similar to the police, as a criterion for rejecting passports and other job-related verifications. “The enforcement activities have been enhanced in the district. The Vimukthi campaign also focuses on fighting the drug menace through counselling the youngsters who are arrested in NDPS cases,” Kumar added. More