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Narcotics being smuggled to Australia, New Zealand via Mumbai

The NCB seized 4.6 kg of ephedrine from Andheri on Thursday. The contraband had been sourced from Hyderabad, sent in-between layers of cotton in mattresses and was destined for Australia via the Mumbai airport.

A new route from Mumbai to Australia and New Zealand has become popular among drug networks, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has discovered.

The NCB seized 4.6 kg of ephedrine from Andheri on Thursday. The contraband had been sourced from Hyderabad, sent in-between layers of cotton in mattresses and was destined for Australia via the Mumbai airport.

The NCB has made such seizures on at least five occasions in the past few months, where drugs were being smuggled in a similar manner to Australia and New Zealand via Mumbai, officials said.

The contraband seized on Thursday was concealed inside three mattresses packed in one carton box in the form of a parcel, sources said. During searches by a team from NCB Mumbai, all the mattresses were taken out and the contraband was found concealed inside it. Further investigation is underway to nab the consignee, consignor and other links of the drug smugglers in Mumbai also, officials said.

Ephedrine has a similar chemical structure to amphetamines and is a methamphetamine analogue having methamphetamine structure. Because of ephedrine’s structural similarity to methamphetamine, it can be used to create the latter. This has made ephedrine a highly sought after chemical precursor in the illicit manufacture of methamphetamine.

Ephedrine is covered under Section 9A of the NDPS Act, 1985, and table-I precursor under the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.

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