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Excise still in the dark about the origin of MDMA

While excise sleuths remain confident that the drug was sourced from Chennai, they are not sure whether it was domestically manufactured or imported from abroad

The Excise Crime Branch probing the seizure of over 1kg of MDMA from an apartment in Thrikkakara last month remains in the dark about the original source of what is considered to be a premium party drug.

While excise sleuths remain confident that the drug was sourced from Triplicane area in Chennai, they are not sure whether it was domestically manufactured or imported from abroad in the guise of cargo.

Chennai is also considered one of the hotspots for smuggling in premium drugs from abroad and then supplying it domestically, excise sources said. Last week, two of the six accused in the case were taken to various places in Puducherry and Chennai where the duo along with two other accused persons had stayed to procure the synthetic drug.

Though excise has tracked down the numbers of some local agents linked to the deal in Chennai, they were all switched off. Besides, the numbers were traced back to people who had no clue that their personal details were used to secure mobile connections on the sly, sources said. Call Detail Records of all the accused are also being analysed.

The quality of the drug also remains to be conclusively proved. “The drug was seized in two lots and have been given for chemical examinations separately. Only the results of the examinations will help to determine the quality of the drug and whether the two lots are of the same quality,” said excise sources.

Meanwhile, excise has included a smartphone belonging to one of the accused that was left out of the seized items initially after it kicked up a row. “Though it was found, it was initially left out on the ground that no SIM Card was ever inserted into it nor was it used for making any call,” excise officials reasoned.

That being the case, the excise department has identified shortcomings in the initial investigation before it was handed over to the excise crime branch. A preliminary departmental level inquiry by an additional excise commissioner found five officers at fault following which an inspector was suspended while a circle inspector, a preventive officer, and two civil excise officers were transferred.

Three years back, 30kg of MDMA worth over ₹200 crore were seized from a courier agency in Kochi. It was couriered to Kochi concealed in eight cartons of textile consignment through a private courier service agency at Egmore in Chennai. It was supposed to be sent to Malaysia through a private air cargo service in the city. The courier agent, however, grew suspicious of their intention behind re-routing the packet through Kochi instead of sending it directly and alerted the excise.

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