DRI officials seize Ketamine Hydrochloride

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Chennai, Nov 18 (UNI) The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has seized 197 kgs of Ketamine Hydrochloride, valued at Rs 20 crore in the International market, meant to be exported to Malaysia from Chennai port.

This was the biggest single seizure of Ketamine Hydrochloride in the recent past and for the first time, a novel modus operandi of concealing the substance in onion shaped packets among the onions being exported, was used, a DRI release here said.

With this seizure, DRI, Chennai, since August, 2006, has effected seizure of about 460 kgs of Ketamine Hydrochloride having international value of about Rs 46 crore involving concealment in passenger baggages, export items like Pooja articles, onions, etc.

11 people have been arrested in these seizures, the release said.

Based on specific intelligence, officers of the DRI detained an export consignment to Malaysia yesterday and examined it to find the contraband, concealed along with baskets of Bangalore onions.

The consignment was declared in the Customs documents as Bangalore Onions (small sized onions). The consignment was supposed to have 1000 bamboo baskets weighing 10 tonnes. However, when it was examined, only 988 baskets were found.

Out of those, 920 baskets were found to be filled with the declared Bangalore Onions. The remaining 68 baskets were found to be stuffed with plastic packets resembling onion in size and colour along with the declared Bangalore Onions.

There were, in all, 13,660 onion like plastic packets which were found to contain white coloured crystalline granular substance. The physical nature of the said powder resembled Ketamine Hydrochloride totally weighing 197 kgs, the release said.

Ketamine is essentially used as a veterinary anesthetic. Its abuse results in what are described as ''out of body'' or ''near death'' experiences. The abuse of Ketamine has been spreading rapidly in the ''rave parties'' in East and South East Asia and also in Europe and in the United States.

UNI WS AKM ARB PK HT1607

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