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25 March 2013 National punjab: drugs bust

They Know Their Lines

A South Mumbai dealer explains the city’s drugs market

“There’s hardly any risks invo­lved. Most of the time, the cops are hand-in-glove with us. Of course, they get a good cut to ensure they look the other way,” says a top south Mumbai-based drug dealer. He explains how the system works:

Most of the suppliers are Nigerians or South Africans who operate under 5-6 druglords. Each druglord typically has a strong hold over a particular set of peddlers. For example, if one controls the women operating the red light joints, another will have control over the Nigerians or South Africans. Small-time actresses and B-models also operate as fronts for supplying the film and modelling industry.

Most of them stay in ghettos in the suburbs like the Mira Road area and Nalasopara or small hutments in south Mumbai’s Colaba. Original cocaine from Latin America sells for Rs 7,000-10,000 for a gram, which gives about 10-15 “lines” that can be snorted. A cheaper option is Ketamine tablets which, when reduced into a white powder, is a form of crude cocaine. This goes for about Rs 5,000-7,000.

Party drug Ecstasy is sold for about Rs 3,000 a pill. A drop of LSD or “acid” is sold for anywhere between Rs 4,000-5,000 depending on who the customer is. Most of the drops are smuggled in from Amsterdam by foreigners who conceal the drops in eye-drop bottles, carry them in their hand baggage and then sell it here. Demand is usually high during year-end celebrations.

PLACES: Mumbai
SECTION: National
OUTLOOK: 25 March, 2013
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