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NCB seizes ‘ecstasy’ pills suspected to be pumped into Mumbai drugs circuit

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has seized a very large cache of ‘ecstasy’, a party drug, that was sourced from Belgium by a Mumbai-based couple, officials said on Thursday.

A total of 3,056 tablets of the narcotic have been seized in an operation conducted in the western metropolis last week, they said.

Each ecstasy pill costs between Rs 1,500-Rs 2,500 in the domestic market, the officials said.

They said the couple, identified as H A Choudhury and R Batharey, had ordered the ecstasy or MDMA pills from Brussels, Belgium’s capital city, and 3,010 were sent through a courier on August 10 by hiding them in the “false cavity” of a box that contained soft toys.

The remaining 46 pills were recovered from the Navi Mumbai residence of the couple, they claimed.

“The high quality ecstasy pills seized are in different colours like orange, pink and green. The drug was sourced from Brussels and was meant for supply in the Mumbai party circuit,” NCB Deputy Director (operations) K P S Malhotra said.

“We are investigating the linkages of this case to the wider syndicate who traffic party drugs into India,” he said.

At 3,056 tablets, this is one of the largest seizures of the narcotic pills in the country, he said.

MDMA (methylenedioxy- methamphetamine), commonly known as ecstasy, is a party drug that alters mood and its perception is chemically similar to stimulants and hallucinogens. It produces a feeling of increased energy and pleasure.

“As per UNODC’s World Drug Report 2020, ecstasy continues to be manufactured primarily in Europe, most notably in Western and Central Europe. Europe accounts for two-thirds of the ‘ecstasy’ laboratories dismantled worldwide,” an NCB statement said.

The total quantity of ecstasy seized worldwide has doubled over the period of 2009-2018 and this is also reflected in the rapidly increasing popularity of such synthetic drugs in India, it said.