Sniffing out the manu##facture of narcotic substances is the new challenge for the Goa Police, but if the drug trade has progressed to the stage where the dealers dare to produce drugs, then the lax policing in the State has to check what gave them the nerve to do so. Over the past months there have been a number of raids on person who have been found to be growing cannabis in their homes, and some of those arrested have been foreign nationals. The latest has been a Russian couple who was found to be growing cannabis in their rented apartment in Anjuna. But is the trend really new?
Marijuana has in the past been brought into Goa from other countries and also States, but is not being grown within our borders and there is nothing to stop it from crossing the border to other States for sale. In April 2017, Herald had reported that the State was becoming a manufacturer. We quote from that report, “The latest information reveals that all the metros are receiving the narcotics from Goa as this State is become a manufacturing and transit point for most of the drugs. The drugs like MDMA, LSD, Meow Meow, Devils Breath, etc, are now manufactured in Goa in laboratories set up at the coastal areas. The drug lords in Goa, with the help of the chemist, reportedly produce the drug which has a very high value in the market. This practice is totally new which gives the slip to the law-enforcing agencies in the state.” This was 20 months ago, but it is only now that the police have begun to stumble upon the drug manufacturing in the State.
The trend is alarming, for if there have been five raids in the past 12 months in the State, then the possibility of the plant being grown in many more places is high. As admitted by the police, they cannot raid a house without sufficient information, so intelligence has to be stepped up and the authorities are now depending on neighbours or others to pass them information. Patrolling by police in secluded areas of the coastal belt has been increased, but while police concentrate on the coast, what stops the growing of cannabis in other parts of the State and then transporting it to the coast? For that matter, the coast is not the only place where drugs are available, there have been instances of drug raids near educational institutes that are not on the coastal belt. Remember the raid that discovered ketamine in a shed at Pissurlem Industrial Estate?
And, it is not only organic drugs like cannabis that are being produced in Goa. There have been instances of synthetic drugs also being manufactured. A UK national arrested for narcotics last year had admitted during interrogation that he had smuggled crystallised form of LSD and that he processed in Goa and turned into liquid LSD and sold to local and interstate peddlers. With admissions such as these from persons arrested, there is the possibility of more such manufacturing stations, and hence of Goa being a source of narcotics and psychotropic substances for other States also exists.
The war against the drug trade has to be multi-pronged. It cannot be restricted to just busting small dealers that get a few paragraphs and a photograph in the newspapers, but a full attack on the drug lords that will break the back of the illegal business in the State. Are the authorities ready for this? It is time to show the illegal trade that Goa will not tolerate its land being turned into an illicit drug manufacturing haven.