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Goa, India becoming epicenter of drug trade to foreign countries

By Armstrong Vaz     Feb 27, 2010 in Crime
Panjim - The end of the Carnival, the four–day pre-Lenten festival effectively brings an end to all the parties for practicing Christians in the Indian state of Goa.
Some say the suns never sets over the parties in Goa, rain or no rain. The party scene in Goa, which has been fuelled by drugs and more drugs. The state has gained a reputation for easily available drugs and a few drug-related deaths. It was no wonder that an Israeli drug dealer operated from the state for the last 12 years. He was arrested recently after allegedly operating a drug ring with the active support of Goa's police officers.
The end of Carnival season effectively brings an end to the foreign tourist season. The small state in Western India, a former hippie paradise in the late '60s and '70s, welcomed some four million foreign tourists last season.
Goa is not just an epicenter where drugs are sold at rave and trance parties, but in recent years it has also become one of the transit points from which drugs are shipped out to various European countries. It's also a production centre for synthetic party drugs.
Drug lords based in Goa use carbonized suitcases to ship drugs to Europe because carbonized compartments hamper the detection of drugs in the bag, according to an official in Mumbai.
And if that was not enough, minor boys and girls are also forced by to act as mules to courier consignments. Minor kids are hooked on drugs and then forced to carry shipments to foreign destinations.
For example, an Italian minor was caught two years ago at the Dabolim airport in Goa when she was due to board an Indian Airlines flight. The arrest exposed the racket of Israeli drug dealers based in Goa who were using the new method to transit drugs out of India. A man named Dudu was accused of being the kingpin but no case was ever made against him.
The use of minor children is out of design to circumvent the Indian criminal system, as the Indian Juvenile Justice Act says if the juvenile commits a bailable or non-bailable offence, the child shall be released on bail with or without surety. Further detention can only be in observation at home and not in prison or police station.
Under the NDPS (Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act), any person found in possession of less than 10 grams of narcotics is given a minimum sentence of six months, as the court takes the view that 10 grams is for individual consumption. Anything above that amount equates to a 10-year sentence in an Indian prison and a fine.
Any subsequent offence means an offender is handed a much steeper penalty.
Goa is the epicenter of the tourism trade in India, and one of the hotbeds of consumption of drugs during the tourist season. The drug scene is typically found at rave and trance parties which are predominantly organized in the north Goa beach belt of Anjuna, Vagator, Baga, Calangute, Morjim and Ashvem beaches.
However, high-ranking police officials from Delhi are keeping an eye on trance and rave parties where 90 percent of the attendees are foreigners.
Police intelligence reports indicate drug peddlers in Goasell 10 percent of their synthetic drugs in the open market, 40 percent at rave parties and 50 percent is sent to the cosmopolitan cities in the country.
And Goa is not just the transit point for drugs to be taken out of the country; in the last few years foreigners have been bringing drugs in and manufacturing locally. The CK1 pill is one of those trendy party drugs manufactured in Goa. The pill is a combination of Cocaine and the Anaesthetic Ketamine.
CK1 is also known by its street names "Blizzard" and "Calvin Klein" and is readily available in the North Goa beach belt.
Customs officials admit the clandestine production and smuggling of Ketamine is turning Goa into a transit point for international drug mafia.
The Ketamine smuggling mafia involves Italian, German, English and Scottish drug dealers who operate from Europe, using either charter tourists as carriers or the courier parcel system, as means of transportation.
A flourishing drug trade thrives in the Kullu valley in North India; the valley is frequented by backpacking tourists, mostly Israeli's fresh off their military duties. The area is known for its cheap and plentiful supply of Hashish. Reports from the valley indicate a powerful Israeli mafia allegedly controls much of the drug trade in the valley.
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