THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Dropping a strong hint Kerala is fast turning a major transit point for global drug trafficking, three Maldivians were arrested here on Monday with 17 kg hashish oil worth Rs 5 crore intended for overseas markets. One of the arrested is Shaniz Maheer, 27, a drug trafficker pursued by agencies world over.
Shaniz, who is being caught in India for a drug-related offence for the first time, has been a thorn in the flesh of international anti-drug agencies. Considered as one of the most notorious Maldivian drug dealers, he is involved in the business of multiple variants of narcotics. The two others who were arrested are Aymen Ahammed, 24, and Ibrahim Fawzen Salih, 29.
Kerala Police Narcotics Special Action Force (KANSAF) nodal officer I G P Vijayan said the arrests were made following the inputs provided by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB). “NCB provided the basic information. We worked on the information and also got inputs from international organisations. The arrests were possible because of inter-departmental and international co-ordination,” he said.
City Police Commissioner P Prakash said the trio have been under police surveillance during their stay in star hotels in the city. The shadow police officers were clandestinely tailing them, he said. “The three went to Chala market and bought 32 packets of vegetable oil. The original plan was to empty the packets and refill them with the contraband,” he said. The trio were planning to smuggle it to Maldives by air. However, sea routes were also occasionally used. The substance were transshipped and then transferred at mid-sea.
There has been a rise in the sales and seizure of narcotics in the state in recent times. In the first trimester of the year, 800 kg of ganja was seized from across the state. This comprised synthetic drugs and natural drugs. Last month, the Excise Department had seized about 10 kg of hashish oil from the city. Excise sources had said the produce was meant for Maldives and other countries. However, Vijayan said they can’t comment on this right now as the investigation is in the nascent stage. “What I can say is the hashish oil seized is of high quality and we are looking for the people who provided the trio with the drugs in Kerala,” he said. More arrests are likely in the coming days, he said.