Hyderabad: Acting on a tip-off, officials of the directorate of revenue arrested three people and seized 142.6 kg of Mephedrone and 31 kg of Ephedrine valued at Rs. 28.52 crores. Mephedrone, a psychotropic substance banned under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act 1985, was being illegally manufactured in the outskirts of Hyderabad.

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The officials also seized another controlled substance valued at Rs. 3.1 crores and raw materials worth Rs. 50 crores, which could be used to manufacture over 250 kg of Mephedrone, from the factory premises. The drugs were to be supplied to various cities in India, the officials said.

Mephedrone is a synthetic stimulant drug generally used for recreation and is popular among the urban college-going crowd. It is colloquially known as bath salt, Meow Meow, and has effects similar to MDMA, amphetamines, and cocaine.

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On 15 August, officials had intercepted a consignment of Mephedrone from Hyderabad at Mumbai. The Mephedrone had been cleverly loaded in a private passenger bus as cargo and no one was accompanying it to ensure that even if the consignment was caught, no individuals could be linked to it. However, in a series of swift follow-up raids, the recipients of the consignment in Mumbai were identified and their premises, including a drug-manufacturing laboratory, raided. Mephedrone, Ketamine, and samples of other psychotropic substances had been seized during the raids. The syndicate had a well-established chain of supply both within the country and outside. The payment for the raw material and finished products took place through Hawala channels, said the officials.

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In a carefully-coordinated operation conducted in three days and across multiple locations in Hyderabad and Mumbai, DRI officials seized over 210 kg of Mephedrone, 10 kg of Ketaminem 31 kg of Ephedrine, all worth Rs. 47 crores, and raw materials worth Rs. 50 crores. Further, cash worth Rs. 45 lakh in Indian currency notes was also seized.

The mastermind behind the racket was arrested in Hyderabad and two others were arrested in Mumbai. The mastermind had earlier been arrested by the DRI in 2017 under the provisions of the NDPS Act and was out on bail, officials said.

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