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Drones alter Gurdaspur drug dynamics

Heroin replaces traditional contrabands

Drones alter Gurdaspur drug dynamics

Heroin addicts recover at a rehabilitation centre in Gurdaspur.

Tribune News Service

Ravi Dhaliwal

Gurdaspur, November 29

The practice of consuming traditional narcotics like opium, poppy husk and cough syrups in this border district has substantially decreased primarily because of the replacement of these narcotics with heroin following its easy availability.

Drones flying in from Pakistan have altered the dynamics of drug use. These flying-contraptions have been regularly dropping yellow nylon bags containing heroin, also known as black tar, stuff, junk, smack or thunder in the addicts’ language, in agricultural fields located in the vicinity of the international border (IB).

Some seizures are officially reported by the security agencies, others go unnoticed by them. The consignments that go unnoticed later make their way into the local drug market.

Officers admit for every kg of heroin seized, at least 5-10 times enters Punjab, unchecked and unhindered. The frightening part is that a bulk of the consignment stays back in Punjab. This, in turn, is devastating the lives of youngsters.

Statistics culled from various sources prove that 80 per cent of the addicts who arrive for treatment at de-addiction centres are on heroin. “This was not the case till some years ago when the drone phenomenon was an unheard proposition. In the past two years, drones have flooded the market big time with heroin,” said Romesh Mahajan, Project Director of the Red-Cross rehabilitation centre.

Before the drones came on the scene, heroin used to be pushed into Indian territory through pipes inserted in barbed wire at the IB. This process was fraught with the danger of being caught by the BSF.

Officers say drones have made the job of all the stakeholders — big-time smugglers, small-time peddlers, the carriers and the end users — much easier. Moreover, ferrying the powder from one place to another is much easier than carrying bulky loads of opium or poppy husk.

Police officers say they are fighting a losing battle as far as identifying the big-time smugglers is concerned. Sources say a carrier, who is paid Rs 2-4 lakh per consignment, collects the consignment from near the IB and hands it over to his accomplice. This accomplice has his face covered and to ensure there is extra manoeuverability in the eventuality of being spotted by the cops always uses a two-wheeler.

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The Tribune News Service brings you the latest news, analysis and insights from the region, India and around the world. Follow the Tribune News Service for a wide-ranging coverage of events as they unfold, with perspective and clarity.

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