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Seized drug from Ethiopia was smuggled into Mumbai as green tea

At least four foreign nationals, who are part of the international drug cartel, have been detained by the agency for questioning.

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Seized drug from Ethiopia was smuggled into Mumbai as green tea
Smuggled bags of Khat leaves
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Probe into the seizure of 132 kilograms of Khat leaves (contraband) by Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has revealed that the Ethiopia-based drug runner had declared the said leaves as Green Tea so that the consignment does not catch the attention of anti-drug agencies. At least four foreign nationals, who are part of the international drug cartel, have been detained by the agency for questioning.

According to the sources in DRI, on July 10, an Ethiopia-based person (name withheld) had exported 132 kilograms of Catha Edulis alias Mira Leaves or Kath Leaves worth Rs 3.4 crore. The said consignment reached Mumbai and Kolkata on July 13.

"The said leaves were declared as Green Tea and were sent as EMS speed post parcels in two different consignments. While Mumbai based consignment was of 32 kilograms, the remaining was seized from Kolkata airport. The drug runner purposefully sent a large chunk to Kolkata so that even if the Mumbai-based consignment get's caught, the Kolkata-based consignment safely reaches the receiver. However their plan failed since we had received information about both the consignments," said agency source.

The said contraband was sourced from Ethiopia and destined to Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, and Nepal. "In Mumbai, the address of the receiver was of Musafirkhana near Crawford Market. The address was found to be fake. Three persons were supposed to receive the consignment in Mumbai. Our probe has revealed that the Kath leaves were being supplied to youths in Mira Road, Mohammad Ali Road, Masjid Bunder and Nalasopara by an African gang," said the source.

He added, "The syndicate is operating on Pan India basis run by foreign nationals having their associates operating from Mumbai, Kolkatta, Jaipur, Delhi, and Nepal. Kath leaves and tops are chewed or, less frequently, dried and consumed as tea, to achieve a state of euphoria and stimulation. We have seized the consignment under the Narcotic Drug and Psychotropic Substances Act."

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