South Bengal Frontier of the Border Security Force (BSF) seized Tapentadol tablets worth more than Rs 9 lakhs from smugglers along the Indo-Bangladesh border (IANS photo)
After Andhra Pradesh and Telangana, West Bengal could be turning into a hub for the smuggling of opiate analgesics.
In April, the South Bengal Frontier of the Border Security Force (BSF) seized Tapentadol tablets worth more than Rs 9 lakhs from smugglers along the Indo-Bangladesh border. These were in two separate raids in the districts of North 24 Parganas and Murshidabad.
The Centre recently cracked down on a pharmaceutical company for smuggling Tramadol tablets to strife-torn Sudan.
Tramadol is also an opiate analgesic known as the ‘ISIS Drug’. It got its name after Islamic State fighters used it as a painkiller and to remain awake for longer periods of time.
Tapentadol has the same properties as Tramadol.
The latest seizure of Tapentadol was made on Saturday by troops of the 117 Battalion BSF in charge of the Kaharpara Border Outpost (BOP) in Murshidabad.
Based on a tip-off, the troops searched the belongings of farmers at the gate of the border fence. On checking a water pipe being carried by one of them, the jawans discovered 1,220 strips of Tapentadol hidden inside. Bikram Das (40), the man who owned the pipe, confessed that he had been given the medicines by one Rustam Sk and was to hand them over to an unknown recipient from across the border.
The medicines, valued at nearly Rs 4,63,000, along with Das were handed over to the local police for necessary legal action.
The other attempt to smuggle Tapentadol across the border was made near Jeetpur in North 24 Parganas on the night of April 16. Troops of the 68Bn BSF spotted 4-5 smugglers moving towards the border fence and challenged them. The smugglers fled back towards their village but left behind a bag containing 1,300 strips of Tapentadol. The estimated value of the cache is Rs 4,48,500. The medicines were handed over to the Bagdah police station.
While agencies are carrying out their own probe, officials aren’t sure who the medicines were meant for.
Al Qaeda in the Indian Subcontinent (AQIS) has a strong presence in Bangladesh through its affiliate Ansar Al Islam.
Over the last few months, several AQIS sympathizers have been rounded up from districts in West Bengal.