Trail of international drug smugglers goes cold
Islamabad: Last month the Islamabad police got on the trail of an international gang of drug traffickers who allegedly used big courier services to smuggle heroin to the United Kingdom. But the trail has gone cold. The underworld seems to have better intelligence than the police.
It was a tip off that helped the police intercept a car at a checkpost on June 20 and arrest three men carrying 10 kilogrammes of heroin in it. Their interrogation led the police to make a fourth arrest and recover eight kilogrammes of heroin from a house in G-11.
But the police was in for a shock when they sent the British High Commission the information the arrested persons provided about their two contacts in the United Kingdom. According to a senior police officer the British authorities replied that the two Pakistani-origin settlers named as the contacts in Birmingham and London were not traceable. “Obviously the addresses and other details given by the detained traffickers were fake,” said the officer Now the police are trying to enlist the help of Interpol to track down the UK-based smugglers.
Meanwhile, even at home the police had not been able to lay its hands on the other operatives involved in the smuggling racket.
Heads of the two courier services – DHL and TNT – assured the police investigators full cooperation and the DHL sent its suspect employee for questioning. The interrogators however found him innocent and released him after three days. The traffickers in police custody too did not identify him as a collaborator.
Their alleged collaborator in TNT courier service had disappeared from his house in Faisalabad before a police officer arrived in the city to arrest him. “Maybe he got wind of DHL handing over its employee to police and vanished,” a police officer said. “It is possible that the men already under arrest are feeding wrong information about their collaborators to shield them.”
Perhaps the most interesting disappearance in the case is that of a man known as Pehlawan living in Gujranwala. He was there to check the quality of the heroin on offer before closing the deal for the don in United Kingdom. Only after he approved the stuff would the don, identified as “R”, would pay the seller up to 15,000 pound sterling for a kilogramme of heroin.
The origins of the racket itself are strange. It all started with GQ, a resident of Swabi and an informer for the Anti-Narcotics Force in Lahore who died last year. Before his death, he had introduced his two sons WQ and AQ to his connections in the drug mafia, including “R”. Unfortunately, soon after GQ’s death his wife was diagnosed cancer and her treatment bankrupted their sons’ jewellry business in Swabi. In desperation, they reportedly turned to their late father’s drug world contacts for help and got launched into the drug trafficking business.
They procured heroin and smuggled it to “R”, using his network. The heroin they procured was transported by call girls and high-class prostitutes employed by the network to Lahore and Faisalabad from where it was sent to United Kingdom.
Islamabad police learnt that the heroin was concealed in cavities of huge wooden frames of portraits that the traffickers ring sent through courier services. Police believe the ring must have had collaborators in the courier services and the customs department at both ends to carry on their business.