The arrest of a Canadian drug don has led police to India’s biggest meth factory, which was supplying party drugs to an international crime syndicate. The racket came to light following the arrest of Xie Jing Feng alias Richard, a Canadian citizen of Chinese origin, Indian police said. He was tracked and detained at a hotel in Vadodara, Gujarat last November 21 by Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) detectives, led by Ahmedabad Zonal Director Ayush Mani Tiwari. Two Malaysians of Indian origin were also arrested at the same time and police seized 1.5 kilos of methamphetamine. They were identified as Ravindran Karpaya and Gunashekharan Pillay.
Following the interrogation of Xie over the last few months, Indian police with their counterparts in Hong Kong and China have uncovered a massive international operation that was producing methamphetamine or “speed” at a factory run by a well known local businessman identified as Kirit Shah.
Shah was the owner of Savli’s Sakha Organics Private Limited in the Northern Indian city of Ahmedabad, where police seized a staggering 110 kilos of methamphetamine.
Shah was arrested last week from a holiday resort in the Southern Indian state of Kerala.
According to Indian NCB officials, Shah along with another man identified as Jagdish Vaidya were directors of the illegal drug factory.
Vaidya is on the run.
“According to primary investigations we got to know that the duo started the venture in the early 90s to produce oxime, a chemical substance used to make methamphetamine,” said NCB Director Tiwari.
“They were doing contract jobs for local chemical companies but when they incurred losses and became defaulters to various government financial agencies, they turned toward producing the contraband.”
The senior investigator said that while Shah did not have any previous background in relation to drugs, Vaidya was previously involved in a ephedrine drug manufacturing case.
Key to the far-reaching operation is Canadian national Xie Jing Feng, a reputed “drug don.”
The RCMP, from its national headquarters in Ottawa, said so far it has not been contacted by Indian authorities for assistance in the investigation.
Lisa Monette, Canada Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade’s South Asia desk spokesperson, said she could not discuss the particulars of the case, citing privacy laws.
Canadian consular officials do, however, routinely provide assistance and support to Canadians in jails overseas, though they cannot arrange release, post bail, pay fines or fees or seek preferential treatment for suspects arrested in foreign jurisdictions.
Indian police said Xie (aka Richard) made several trips to India prior to his apprehension.
“In this case, Richard used to come frequently to India where he visited Mumbai and Vadodara,” explained Tiwari.
meth_lab”In special meetings Malaysians were also present. In the initial questioning, we have come to know that they made drug substances from freely-available chemicals with an alternate formula. They then used human carriers to send it outside the Indian boundaries.”
Tiwari said the syndicate used young men and women as couriers and paid about 40,000 rupees (nearly $1,000) to drug mules to transport the drugs to Southeast Asia, Japan, Taiwan and North America.
Tiwari said follow-up investigations after the arrest of the Chinese-Canadian drug trafficker involved various national agencies from China and Hong Kong.
Tsoi Chit Tsang has subsequently been arrested in Beijing, while seven other suspects have been nabbed in China and Hong Kong in connection with the case.
Indian police are now focusing their investigations in Mumbai, which they believe was a hub for the international drug pipeline, based on documents seized from the house of the suspects arrested last week.
It could not be determined by press time if this case is connected to the arrest of a Surrey man identified as Gurdish Toor, 29, who worked with Chinese-Canadian drug smugglers.
Toor, who is in an India jail, was arrested two years ago for allegedly supplying ephedrine, a precursor drug for the manufacture of methamphetamines, to the Canada and U.S. markets.
At the time of his arrest cops seized 100 kilograms of ephedrine worth $24 million dollars on the streets of North America.
Toor allegedly told police that he cultivated marijuana in B.C., works with Asian drug smugglers in Canada, and used import-export companies as fronts to ship drugs.
Toor operated firms like Golden Shield Private Limited, Simran Rice and Blue Horse Trading Limited out of Ludhiana, Punjab.
Police described the companies as fronts for a drug cartel.
Toor lived a lavish life spending up to 50,000 rupees ($1,100) per day – a fortune in India where the average income is less than $500 a year – and had a fleet of luxury cars.
He also built a palatial mansion and amassed unaccounted land and properties, which police believe are the proceeds of crime.
With an annual turnover of around US$500 billion dollars, drug trafficking is the third largest business in the world, next only to petroleum production and arms trading.
Narcotics agencies say India, wedged between two major drug-producing regions, the Golden Triangle and the Golden Crescent, is a major transit point for drug smuggling to the West where returns are lucrative.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, in an analytical report, says drug seizures originating in India have increased dramatically in recent years, with India becoming the number one source/transit country to Canada.
Various methods are used to import heroin into Canada such as postal and courier modes, and air transport, as well as over land via commercial or traffic vehicles.
Authorities see an array of concealment methods, including human ingestion, modified suitcases, hollowed picture frames rolling pins and statues, and even hiding the heroin in a baby’s diaper bag.
India has also emerged as a source country for ketamine and other party drugs smuggled into Canada.
The RCMP report also identified Indo-Canadian criminal groups as high-level transporters of synthetic drugs and precursor chemicals from Canada to the U.S.
South Asian Post,April 29 2009