Islamabad: Arrested smugglers operated in capital for 10 years
ISLAMABAD: The international gang of drug smugglers busted the other day had been operating in the capital for the last 10 years. The gang comprised the nationals of Nigeria, Ivory Coast, South Africa and Sierra Leone, sources close to the investigation told Dawn on Saturday.
They said the gang was headed by a Nigerian – AMT – who purchased heroin from Lahore and Peshawar. During interrogation, he disclosed that he bought heroin for $2,800 per kg from another Nigerian and a Sierra Leone national based in Lahore.
AMT said he used to approach them on cellphone whenever he needed heroin and the suppliers delivered the contraband at Karachi Company through a public transport service – Nazi Coach – under the cover of cornflakes packing.
The heroin recovered from his house during a raid on Friday had reached there on Wednesday and half of that had already been filled in capsules to be smuggled to South Africa and Sierra Leone, the accused told the investigators, adding he himself also smuggled the drugs abroad by swallowing it.
At one time he swallowed 80 capsules, each carrying 80 gram heroin, he disclosed. He got $170 for a 100 gram heroin in Sierra Leone and $5,000 for a kilogramme in Sri Lanka.
The accused said he got payment for the consignment sent aboard through a money changer at the Panorama Centre in Lahore.
The investigators also suspected that the inter-provisional bus service – Niazi – was also involved in smuggling by transporting heroin to Islamabad from Lahore or Peshawar.
The sources said neither it was established nor the Nigerian had alleged that he was taking help from officials deployed at the airports in smuggling the drugs abroad. However, the sources said it was impossible for the accused to smuggle drugs for the last one decade without any help from inside.
The sources said out of the seven foreigners, four were sent to jail on judicial remand while the remaining three, including AMT, were on physical remand for further investigations.
The investigators wanted to trace their links in the bus service, airports and money changers besides tracing the drug dealers in Lahore and Peshawar.
The four foreigners sent to jail on judicial remand also operated in the country. They purchased separate consignments of heroin from the same network and sold it to local dealers.
The sources said the Nigerian had constituted the gang after meeting the other foreigners. Earlier, they operated from I-9 Markaz but a few months back the police conducted a raid there which forced them to shift to the rented house at I-10 /1.
It may be mentioned that the international smugglers of narcotics were traced after the arrest of two alleged killers of a muazzin (prayer caller) at I-10/1 on Friday. The two men arrested in the murder case were drug addicts and during interrogation they pointed to the house from where they purchased heroin.