Thursday 08 Dec 2022

Is Goa getting a ‘high’ on cocaine tourism?



The two North Indian tourists’ encounter with cocaine at a trance party in Vagator -- eventually landing the woman traveler in the Intensive Care Unit due to suspected overdose -- indicates that Goa is turning into a hotspot for cocaine lovers.

Cocaine seizures, particularly from the northern coastal State, show cocaine is becoming the main draw. Moreover, Nigerians are by and large involved in sourcing cocaine and heroin from Latin and South America for local distribution.

“Apart from being a tourist destination, party culture is working as a hook to draw curious and addicted tourists. Easy access to drugs has thrived and police records substantiate this. Tourists love cocaine, and this drug is gaining popularity among the visitors' lot,” a senior officer, working in close coordination with the anti-drug agencies, told The Goan on condition of anonymity.

The State has in the recent past recorded quite a few arrests of peddlers, most of whom are non-Goans. “Huge quantities of cocaine are trafficked in India from South American countries through air or water transport. It’s an extensive and elaborate network involved in illegal smuggling. The carriers are from poorer nations such as Africans (mostly Nigerians),” the officer said.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) Mumbai Zone seized 3.2 kg of high-grade black cocaine from a Bolivian woman carrier on September 26, whose confession led to the arrest of a Nigerian drug dealer in Goa’s coastal belt. The seized contraband was estimated at Rs 15 crore.

Bolivian national Nava Marina’s arrest at Mumbai airport led the team to a Nigerian dealer in Goa who was subsequently arrested in a joint operation by the Mumbai and Goa NCB sleuths.

In the same month, a student from Andhra Pradesh Devineni Trilok Chaudhary was fortunate to have survived a drug overdose. The teen tourist -- who came on a vacation with two of his friends -- had also consumed cocaine, which was supplied to him by a taxi driver,

Not just cocaine, Goa’s is also a hub for ganja, heroin, LSD and MDMA besides other forms of lethal combination. The top law enforcement officer revealed that dealers import a significant quantity of Ganja from AOB (Andhra Pradesh-Odisha Border) where the NCB and Local police had just recently destroyed cannabis cultivation spread across 10,000 acres of land. 

Similarly, heroin is transported from the borders of Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh. Consignments also reach their destination by way of couriers and small envelopes.  “The NCB is working on the procedure to check the international parcels, couriers, etc through a specialized scanning machine. 

At present, absence of proper scanning has encouraged cartels to misuse the system,” he said. Crackdown down on strong African links at Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, and Goa airports is on the priority list of the central agencies. 

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