Foreigners Renting Flats In Greater Noida To Set Up Meth Labs: Cops

The latest such raid was carried out on April 17 in which four Nigerian nationals were held and 26.67 kg of MDMA worth Rs 100 crore was seized.

Foreigners Renting Flats In Greater Noida To Set Up Meth Labs: Cops

In the last one year, police have busted three meth labs that were set up by foreigners inside rented accommodations in Greater Noida and seized more than 100 kg of drugs worth hundreds of crores.

The latest such raid was carried out on April 17 in which four Nigerian nationals were held and 26.67 kg of methylenedioxyphenethylamine, or MDMA, worth Rs 100 crore was seized.

Police recovered over 75 kg of MDMA, also known as ecstasy or molly, in two separate but linked raids on May 16 and May 30 last year, arresting around a dozen foreigners from residential houses where proper labs were set up for cooking meth.

The cooked meth in these two episodes was collectively valued at over Rs 350 crore, according to police.

According to police, these recoveries could be just the "tip of the iceberg" of an international drug syndicate.

In all these incidents, they found that meth in "pure form" was cooked by foreigners who worked in the lower rung of the syndicate.

This meth was sent to their contact person in Delhi and from there to Europe through channels that are yet to be investigated, an officer involved in the investigation told PTI.

"Using the raw material which was provided to them by their contacts in Delhi, the accused in Greater Noida cooked the meth. It was dried inside the houses and then given the form of a solid brick of six inch by one inch before being parcelled out to their networks in Delhi who met them on need-to-know basis," the officer said.

At least three of the several police personnel that PTI spoke to, concurred that Greater Noida, because of its less-dense residential facilities and easy connectivity to Delhi, served as an ideal place for manufacturing the drug.

"In all three cases, the houses rented by the foreigners were in isolated locations and had open area on at least three-sides so that the pungent smell emanating due to meth cooking does not catch attention of people living close by," an officer said.

What also made Greater Noida a perfect place for the activity was availability of some raw materials, which are difficult to procure abroad.

For instance, the availability of Ephedrine, a medication and stimulant which is prohibited under the NDPS Act and whose sale is also banned by the government.

Ephedrine, although available for pharmaceutical purposes, comes with a lot of regulation.

A police officer said the drug costs Rs 80,000 to Rs 90,000 per kg but is sold in black market for Rs 2 lakh to Rs 3 lakh per kg. It is be difficult to procure in Europe and even when it is up for sale, it would cost Rs 8 lakh to Rs 10 lakh per kg.

"The profit margin by operating here is more than double. Also, the meth is second most expensive to cocaine and what they cooked here in Greater Noida was not meant for local supply but was to be exported," the officer added.

Police are now investigating how the foreigners procured Ephedrine locally.

During their latest raid, police also found that the drug suppliers were using some less-known shopping apps to parcel the cooked meth. Their associates, whether in India or abroad, simply placed order for a product and gave a foreign location as delivery address.

"Once the meth reached Delhi, it was concealed in the sole of shoes, or creatively concealed inside hair extensions, or neatly ticked inside bales of textile clothes that are exported in bulk. It's difficult to detect the drugs, though agencies have thwarted many such attempts with the use of intelligence and insider network," he said.

According to police, all persons arrested in the three cases are currently in jail.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)