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Poverty forcing women, kids into drugs business

KARACHI: As many as 50 drug trafficking networks are operating in city. These networks have used poverty-stricken women and children for drug peddling in many parts of the city, Daily Times learnt.

There are many ways to smuggle drugs from one country to another. These networks are currently considering smuggling drugs by hiding them in the human body and the people, who these drugs are placed inside, are known as carriers. As no airport has special machineries to x-ray bodies the carriers can pass through airport security without being caught.

On November 20, Customs’ Anti Drugs Enforcement Cell (ADEC) arrested Naila, 18, from the Jinnah International Airport. Naila is a resident of Karachi and was arrested when she was trying to go to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with 100 capsules of heroin inside her body. The ADEC took her into custody on suspicion and rushed her to Jinnah Postgraduate Medical Center on Friday where they found the capsules inside her body.

“It is very common for the networks to use women for smuggling drugs,” ANF official Choudhry Shakil told Daily Times. “Earlier, ANF arrested a number of people, especially women, teenage girls, boys and elderly people, carrying capsules loaded with heroin in their bodies.”

These networks were worried when ANF launched a crackdown against Africans because usually Africans were used for smuggling heroin. “We started x-raying every African national who came to the airports to leave for any other country. We thought that this will put an end to the smuggling of heroin but the networks started using new tactics that involved locals,” said Shakil.

The locals used are usually so fed up of their poverty-stricken lives that they will do anything to earn easy money. “I think 90 percent locals agree to smuggle drugs because of poverty, the officer said.

There are two ways to identify people that are carrying drugs inside their bodies, the first way is to have a confirmed tip-off about the person carrying heroine and the second way is to check people who act suspicious. “We do not have specific machinery at airports to check if someone is carrying heroine capsules in their bodies or not,” he added.

The smugglers in Karachi get drugs from Quetta and Peshawar which are originally brought in from Afghanistan. Smugglers currently are working to hand the drugs over to agents in Kuala Lumpur, from where the drugs are to sent to agents in Europe and America. “People also smuggle drugs to China, Bangkok and other countries but more than 90 percent of the people from Karachi go to Kuala Lumpur and hand heroin to their agents,” said Shakeel. In Pakistan one kilogram of heroin costs Rs 0.2 to 0.4 million which converts into Rs 10 million in the international market.

The officer further said that the capsules are packed tightly in plastic bags. It is very risky to carry heroin in the body in capsules because if the heroin leaks into the human body it can kill a person immediately. The agents give return tickets to the carriers and pay them. Currently a drug trafficking network gets a comission of $3.5 to 5 on each gram of heroin and a capsule carries a gram of heroin, the officer added.
Source: Daily Times
Date:11/22/2008

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