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Inter-state drug network kingpin, his aide nabbed from Odisha

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MUMBAI, Dec 13: The Mumbai police have arrested the alleged kingpin of an inter-state drug syndicate and his aide from Odisha in connection with a two-year-old case in which ganja worth Rs 3.85 crore was seized in the metropolis, an official said.

The Anti-Narcotics Cell (ANC) of the Mumbai crime branch arrested the alleged kingpin, Laxmikant alias Laxmibhai Pradhan, and his aide Bidyadhar Pradhan, both facing other criminal cases, from Golanthara in Odisha’s Ganjam district on Saturday, he said.

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With this, the police have so far arrested five persons in connection with the drug seizure case, the official said on Tuesday.

The ANC’s Ghatkopar unit busted an interstate drug syndicate by arresting three persons with ganja (marijuana) weighing 1,820 kg and valued at Rs 3.85 crore in December 2021.

During investigation, it was revealed the contraband was procured from Odisha.

An offence under relevant sections of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act was registered against them.

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The police identified the kingpin of the syndicate and launched a search for him in Odisha and Andhra Pradesh. He was found to be moving in different cities of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh to evade arrest, said the official.

After months of search, officials of the ANC’s Ghatkopar unit got a specific tip-off that Laxmibhai Pradhan and his aide Bidyadhar were in Odisha.

Accordingly, a team was dispatched from Mumbai to the eastern state and the duo was nabbed, the official said.

Both were brought to Mumbai on transit remand.

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An in-depth investigation was underway to trace other members of the syndicate, he said.

Laxmibhai Pradhan has several criminal cases pending against him, including murder and those under the Arms Act, in different parts of Odisha. Bidyadhar Pradhan, too, faces three criminal cases, the official said. (PTI)

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