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Five youths held for supplying banned drugs to the US

Press Trust of India  |  Ahmedabad 

With the arrest of five youths from Surat, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) today claimed to have busted a racket involving supply of banned psychotropic drugs to the US through online portals.

Acting on specific information, officials of NCB's zonal unit in Gujarat, seized three suspected parcels from a local courier company in Surat a few days back. After checking the contents, officials found 4,500 tablets of Alprazolam and 470 grams of Methyl Phenedate, NCB officials said.

"These are classified as 'psychotropic substances' under the NDPS Act. These medicines are mainly used as anti- depressants or stimulants. Being a schedule-H drug, they cannot be sold over the counter, as doctor's prescription is necessary to buy it in India," said zonal director of NCB Hariom Gandhi.

When NCB traced those who sent these parcels, which are meant to be dispatched outside India, they zeroed-in on five young entrepreneurs, who have been operating from their office in Swastik Plaza in Yogi Chowk area of Surat.

They were identified as Ashok Chobatia, Deepak Mangukia, Ankit Patel, Tarul Bhutani and Jenis Viradia, all in the age group of 26 to 28 years. They were arrested yesterday.

Officials raided their office-cum-godown in Swastik Plaza and found similar substances in huge quantity, valued at Rs 100 crore in the international market.

Investigations revealed that these youngsters are friends and have done M Pharma. They even worked for well-known pharma companies before coming together to start their own online business of selling medicines in 2012.

"Initially, they have been doing their business in a legal way. They used to take orders online about general medicines and sell it to the buyer after taking orders through web portals meant specifically for wholesalers, such as India Mart," said Gandhi.

"However, they saw more money in selling banned medicines in the US, where these substances are in high demand. These medicines are used for relieving stress. They are also used as party drugs, as it stimulates senses. One tablet, which is sold here for just Rs 5, can fetch up to Rs 400 in the US," Gandhi said.

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First Published: Tue, February 03 2015. 23:00 IST