Money-chain model drug trafficking widespread in Kerala: NCB to Centre

Drug abuse
Money chains are Ponzi schemes wherein money contributed by a new investor is shown or given as profits to early participants in the scheme. Photo: iStock/Stas V

Kochi: Drug cartels are now resorting to a 'multilevel money-chain model of marketing' to lure more victims and scale up illegal narcotics sale in Kerala, the Intelligence Wing of the Central anti-drug trafficking agency, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), reported.

The State Excise Intelligence Wing and the Customs Preventive Wing confirmed the modus operandi of the drug rackets. Subsequently, the Excise and Customs Departments have initiated a joint operation centred around Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram and Kozhikode districts to prevent the spread of drug sales.

Money-chains are Ponzi schemes wherein money contributed by a new investor is shown or given as profits to early participants. Unsuspecting individuals in Kerala have been duped of crores of rupees in several such schemes over the last few decades, according to reports.

Modus operandi
The modus operandi of the chain is as follows: If a person without money approaches the drug cartel to buy narcotic substances, the cartel will ask him to introduce them to three persons who have the money to buy the illegal substances. If he is able to do so, he will be offered 30% of the proceeds they recieve by selling the drug to the aforesaid three persons.

When the actual sale takes place, he will be provided the drugs worth the money. If he is able to introduce a fourth person, he will be given for free the same amount of contraband that the fourth person purchases. So, the drug-trafficking network will be built like the once popular money-chain schemes in Kerala.

The NCB has felt that these devious tactics of the drug cartels are leading to the dangerous spread of narcotic substances, even in the villages of Kerala.

This money-chain model enables the cartels to take narcotic substances to the bottom level of the sales chain within hours of the contraband arriving in bulk quantities in the state.

The investigating agencies gathered this information when a youth involved in this chain was brought to a rehabilitation centre in the state by his parents.

The same modus operandi was applied in the drug smuggling case in Aluva, in which the son of a Kerala Police Sub-Inspector (SI) became the accused. The SI who helped his prime accused son escape and travel abroad was made an accused in the case and remanded. The SI’s son was part of the second rung of the distribution network of the cartel centred around Kochi.

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