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Lucknow Man Arrested For Selling Drugs in The US Through Call Centre

After procuring information about potential customers in the US, the call centre employees working under Shantanu Gupta made Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls and asked them if they were interested in buying sleep-inducing medicines and other drugs without any prescription.

Qazi Faraz Ahmad | News18@qazifarazahmad

Updated:December 21, 2017, 2:45 PM IST
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Lucknow Man Arrested For Selling Drugs in The US Through Call Centre
The accused were selling a strip of 10 pills of 0.50mg Alprazolam for anything between $10 and $15 (Rs 640-960), which they used to procure from the open market for as less as Rs 30 or Rs 40 per strip. (Photo courtesy: AFP Relaxnews/ juankphoto/ IStock.com)
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Lucknow: Sleuths of the Narcotics Bureau has arrested a 27-year-old and is on the lookout for five others for running a drugs racket in Lucknow under the cover of a call centre. The accused was allegedly using a call centre to take orders for sleep inducing drugs or anti-anxiety pills from clients in the US and that too at steep rates.

The Narcotics Control Bureau busted the Lucknow-based drug racket that used to sell controlled drugs to clients in the United States via courier and post. According to police, 27-year-old Shantanu Gupta used to sell medicines like Alprazolam and Dizaepam to clients from the US.

After procuring information about potential customers in the US, the call centre employees working under Gupta made Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) calls and asked them if they were interested in buying sleep-inducing medicines and other drugs without any prescription.

NCB Lucknow Zonal Director, Birendra Kumar said, “A drug smuggling racket was busted in Lucknow. The gang was sending scheduled drugs to the US illegally. I cannot divulge other details as the matter is under investigation.”

The NCB first stumbled upon the racket on October 25 when they arrested Shantanu and his two aides from their Rana Pratap Marg office in Hazratganj area. Eight others were arrested from Lucknow and one each from Ghaziabad, Delhi and Dehradun.

The NCB sleuths are now on the lookout for five others in the case and it is estimated that the gang sold controlled drugs worth Rs 15 crore to US citizens from 2013. The NCB was acting based on the inputs sent by the US Drug Enforcement Administration on illegal supply of controlled drugs, which originated from Lucknow.

The accused were selling a strip of 10 pills of 0.50mg Alprazolam for anything between $10 and $15 (Rs 640-960), which they used to procure from the open market for as less as Rs 30 or Rs 40 per strip.

According to sources, Shantanu was selling almost 5,000-6,000 strips to the US in one month. A prescription drug in both US and India, the sedation effect produced by Alprazolam and Diazepam is hypnotic and anticonvulsant.

Shantanu was running the racket along with one Sagar Asthana, resident of New Hyderabad locality in Lucknow and another aide Jitendra from Ghaziabad. The latter was acquainted with the workings of the pharma industry and knew people who worked in drug manufacturing units.

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| Edited by: Sanchari Chatterjee
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