New Delhi : Huge profit margin involved in the smuggling of pharma drugs actuates smugglers to plan different type of plans to trade them.  Recently the drug Ephedrine seized at KIA worth over Rs24 crore in international markets. Ephedrine is mainly used to prevent low blood pressure during spinal anesthesia. Ephedrine can be used as a medication and stimulant as well. It is also used to make amphetamines and methamphetamine. Both are addicting drugs but methamphetamine mainly used by abusers. Amphetamines used to treat asthma, allergies, and colds.

The complete operation ran on the basis of the alert received by custom officials about something unlawful related to the consignment of 81 bags containing ammonium chloride lying in the export shed at KIA and was bound for Malaysia.

At the time of examination sleuths of the Bengaluru Customs Air Cargo Complex found the alert is right and two bags in the consignment contained ephedrine.  The firm based in the Chennai who booked the consignment and after this, sleuths tracked all the containers and 425 kg of ephedrine were stored with the bags of ammonium chloride were found.

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) tested the content of the bags and found smugglers are trying to fool custom officials as they were trying to send ephedrine in crystalline form which looked very similar to ammonium chloride. NCB found ephedrine approximately 50 kg and valued at Rs 2.50 crore in the international market.

Custom house agent, who helped the consignment to book and transported  the bags from a godown in Kothanur to KIA, revealed  the name of the firm and said to the officials that similar consignments had shipped  in the past by the same firm.

Sleuths trying to track exporters for providing wrong details and valued the consignment as Rs 77,000. Officials are putting their efforts to track the exporters and firms, and the profits from smuggling has been used to fund terrorism, crime or for investment in real estate.

Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) explained ephedrine is illegally manufactured in the pharmaceutical factories detected in the Ahmedabad in Gujarat and Hyderabad in Telangana, named hubs for pharmaceutical manufacturing.  Its smuggled abroad as it is highly useful to treat insomnia, blood pressure and used to manufacture illegal drugs like methamphetamine and amphetamine.

According to NCB officials, It is not a banned substance, but its use and manufacturing is governed by the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act.

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