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Bengaluru: DRI seizes 13.2 kg pseudo-ephredrine drug at airport


PTI, Oct 19, 2020, 7:19 PM IST

Bengaluru: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence has seized 13.2 kg of pseudo-ephedrine drug, valued at more than Rs 13 crore in the international market at the Kempegowda International Airport recently.

According to DRI-Bengaluru, the drug concealed in the form of photo albums, photo frames, bangles and other personal items was booked through courier mode at the Kempegowda International Airport.

“The consignment was originally booked from Chennai to Australia and had already reached Singapore en-route to Australia, but was pulled back to Bengaluru based on specific information,” the DRI said.

During the examination of the consignment it was found that within the thick covers of the declared photo albums and photo frames, a total quantity of 13.2 kg of the precursor drug, pseudo-ephedrine was cleverly concealed.

Pseudo-ephedrine is a precursor drug that is utilised for the manufacture of the psychotropic substance Methamphetamine, also known as Crystal Meth, Meth, blue, ice and crystal, the DRI stated.

With a market price reaching more than Rs 1 crore per kilogram, dependent on where the precursor drug is sold, this is one of the largest such consignments seized in recent times at the Kempegowda International Airport and would have been sold on the international market for more than Rs 13 crore, the statement read.

According to the DRI, pseudo-ephedrine, also known as ‘pseudo’ or ‘chalk’ along with its counterpart Ephedrine, belongs to the amphetamine family and is classified under Psychotropic Stimulants.

“Both precursor drugs have the capacity to mimic what adrenaline does to the body. Medicinally, Ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine are both strong nasal-decongestants and are legally used to manufacture pharmacological products against flu and allergies,” the DRI said.

However, they are extremely popular underground as key products used in the illicit production of methamphetamine. Only 1.5 kg of Ephedrine/ pseudoephedrine is needed to obtain one kg of methamphetamine, the statement said.

According to the statement, pseudoephedrine is becoming the main precursor chemical preferred in the manufacture of methamphetamine in Australia.

“Most of the Methamphetamine available in Australia is produced domestically in clandestine chemical laboratories or ‘clan labs. Domestically produced methamphetamine is usually marketed on the street as a powder called ‘speed’, which is heavily cut with glucose, or as a less adulterated damp/oily powder or paste, which is sold as ‘base methamphetamine,” the DRI said.

Australia has seen the introduction of imported crystalline methamphetamine over the past five years, the DRI said, adding it is also manufactured in clandestine drug laboratories in Australia.

It is a highly purified form of the drug that is recognisable by its translucent crystalline appearance.

Crystalline methamphetamine is sold on the street as ‘crystal meth’ or ‘ice’.

“Methamphetamine is also pressed into pills. These pills are usually sold as ecstasy, and producers often combine methamphetamine with ketamine in pills to give an ecstasy-like drug effect,” the DRI said.

The DRI said despite the coronavirus scare, 500 kg of drugs was seized this year, which was concealed in various objects and equipment to be smuggled out.

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