New Delhi [India], February 12 (ANI): The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB)'s Delhi Zonal Unit on Monday claimed to have busted an international drug cartel, resulting in the arrest of nine people, including three Mexican meth chemists.

According to an official statement, the drug cartel operated in the National Capital Region, Rajasthan, Punjab, and Dubai, and its operatives included Indians, Mexicans, Canadian & British citizens.

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A follow-up investigation led to the dismantling of a clandestine lab in Ludhiana, Punjab.

During the operation, officials seized 15.106 kg of methamphetamine (Ice), 9 kg of pseudoephedrine, and various other chemicals.

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Based on specific information, the NCB's Delhi zonal unit seized 2.946 kg of methamphetamine at DHL on January 17.

Subsequently, two parcel consignors were apprehended from Jaipur during the ongoing investigation.

According to the NCB, the arrested accused confessed to collecting methamphetamine from a Delhi-based trafficker as per their foreign handler's instructions and shipping parcels to Australia using forged documents to conceal their identities.

Following their disclosure, the supplier of the drugs was apprehended in Rohini, Delhi, where an additional 12.16 kg of methamphetamine was recovered from his residence.

Further investigation revealed that the source of the drugs seized in Delhi originated from Punjab.

Through electronic and digital evidence, along with the technical footprints of the arrested accused, authorities confirmed that the source of the contraband was Ludhiana and other international bordering districts of Punjab.

The seized contraband was manufactured at a clandestine lab in Ludhiana and transported through domestic mules from various locations in Punjab, such as Amritsar, Fagwada, and Mohali.

Acting on gathered intelligence, the NCB's Delhi Zonal Unit conducted multiple raids in Ludhiana, Mohali, and Jalandhar. During a raid in Ludhiana on January 29, 2024, two Indian nationals were apprehended, and a subsequent search led to the recovery of 4 kg of pseudoephedrine.

Based on the information provided by the apprehended people, follow-up actions were taken at a rented godown in Ludhiana, which was being used as a clandestine lab for methamphetamine production.

During the search, various chemicals used in methamphetamine production were seized, including 5 kg of pseudoephedrine (a controlled substance under the NDPS Act of 1985). Additionally, three Mexican nationals, identified as professional chemists/cooks, were apprehended on the spot, the NCB said.

Further investigation revealed that the three Mexicans had arrived in India in November 2023 under the direction of their handlers based in Mexico and the UK. They were staying in Ludhiana and received assistance and raw materials from the arrested Indian nationals.

The recovered chemicals and equipment included acetone (2200 ltr.), caustic soda (450 kg), gas masks, gas stoves, iodine (49 kg), flasks, small iron drums with chemicals, distilled water (24 ltr.), plastic syringes, and gauge meters, the NCB said.

During the ongoing investigation in Delhi, another associate was apprehended in Ferozpur, Punjab. An advocate from Mohali is considered a prime suspect in the case and is currently absconding, the agency added.

The NCB's Delhi Zonal Unit is continuing its efforts to trace other associates and handlers connected to the arrested individuals. Further investigation is underway. (ANI)

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