Palakkad: A 34-year-old man was arrested by the excise sleuths for smuggling 24kg of hashish oil in a car in Kerala's Palakkad district. The seized hashish can fetch up to Rs 24 crore in international market. This is one of the biggest drug hauls in recent times.
Idukki native, Anoop George (aka Kochu), was arrested during a vehicle inspection by excise officers at Nombikode on the Pollachi Road, late night July 30. Three others, who were in the car with him, managed to give the officers a slip.
Based on a tip-off, the excise enforcement squad and the Palakkad range group conducted the joint inspection.
The hashish was hidden in a secret chamber below the seat.
While the car, with an Andhra Pradesh registration, was being thoroughly searched, the other three fled.
The hashish, procured from Tuni in Andhra Pradesh, was to be taken to Munnar and then smuggled abroad.
The accused said that some people were even ready to pay Rs 1.5 lakh to buy the drugs. The accused had bought the drug from Tuni for Rs 35,000.
Anoop had earlier served jail sentence in a drug case.
Knocked out for 24 hours
Hashish is the second-most sold drug in the world. Weed contains five per cent of Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, the chemical that gives a high. However, it is 60 per cent in hashish oil. Even when used in very small amounts, it can put the person in a state of senselessness for 24 hours. It directly affects the brain.
The hashish that reaches Kerala from Tuni in Andhra can fetch up to Rs 1.5 lakh. However, when it reaches foreign countries, the hashish can even fetch Rs 1 crore per kilogram, it was pointed out.
The excise has received information that hundreds of Idukki natives are camping at Andhra as its dealers. The hashish is packed as pickle in bottles and smuggled into other countries. The pickle bottles are taken to the airports under the name of various brands. The cartons will contain some pickle bottles and others would be hashish, it was said.