HP narcotics smugglers going high on Goa circuit

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Mumbai : With the Himachal Pradesh authorities cracking down on the cultivation of marijuana plants in the Kullu valley, smugglers from the state are passing off charas from Nepal as ‘Malana Cream’ to foreign tourists visiting Mumbai and Goa.

Charas produced at Malana in Kullu valley is famous among foreigners looking to get a high. According to sources in the Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) here, ganja and charas from Nepal have been seized in large quantities from Himachal residents caught peddling drugs in Mumbai and Pune.

“Foreigners who visit Goa, Rajasthan and other parts of India bring in synthetic drugs like cocaine, Ecstasy, etc. and trade them for ganja and charas,” says an ANC officer.

He added foreigners usually consume ganja and charas in India and pay a high price for charas sourced from Malana in the Kullu valley. Charas from Malana fetches around Rs 1 lakh per kg in Kullu. The price goes up 10 times when it reaches rave venues in Goa, says the official.

The narcotics sourced from Nepal are much cheaper, according to the ANC official. But in recent times, authorities in Himachal have destroyed the cannabis crop at high altitudes and arrested those growing the crop, thus stemming supplies to Mumbai, Pune and Goa, where there is big demand from the expatriate population, according to sources.

Drug peddlers are routing ganja and charas from neighbouring Nepal.

According to ANC officials, several drug smugglers who have been arrested in Mumbai and Pune have confessed to smuggling contraband from the neighbouring country. “Last year, at least seven persons were arrested for selling ganja in Mumbai,” says a police official.