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Cablegate: Meghalaya State Police Seize 5 Kilos of Heroin

VZCZCXRO3218
PP RUEHBI RUEHCHI RUEHCI RUEHCN
DE RUEHCI #0209 1931025
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
P 121025Z JUL 07
FM AMCONSUL KOLKATA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 1600
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI PRIORITY 1524
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 0678
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 0676
RUEHGO/AMEMBASSY RANGOON 0297
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 0438
RUEHCN/AMCONSUL CHENGDU 0086
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 0445
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 0364
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 0170
RUEHCHI/AMCONSUL CHIANG MAI 0027
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 0055
RUEABND/DEA HQS WASHDC
RUEILB/NCTC WASHINGTON DC
RHEFDIA/DIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEAIIA/CIA WASHINGTON DC
RUEIDN/DNI WASHINGTON DC
RHMFIUU/JIATF WEST
RHMFIUU/CDR USPACOM HONOLULU HI
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 1969

UNCLAS KOLKATA 000209

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PTER SNAR ASEC KCRM IN BG BM
SUBJECT: MEGHALAYA STATE POLICE SEIZE 5 KILOS OF HEROIN

1. (SBU) Summary: On July 6 in Northeast India, Meghalaya
state police reportedly recovered 5 kilograms of heroin in the
state capital Shillong. Two persons have been arrested in
connection with the seizure. One suspect is an Indian federal
government employee, the other is Moulvi (Muslim preacher); both
are from the small Pangal Muslim community in the state of
Manipur. Local authorities are increasingly concerned about the
illicit activities of Pangal youths and the possible links to
terrorism. End Summary.

2. (U) Two alleged drug traffickers were arrested on July 6 in
Shillong, the capital of India's Northeastern Meghalaya state.
Media, quoting officials from Meghalaya's Criminal Investigation
Department (CID), reported that a special anti-drug task force
recovered 5 kilograms of heroin, worth USD 2.5 million. This is
the biggest single drug seizure made by the task force in the
state. The two suspects were arrested under the Narcotic Drugs
and Psychotropic Substances (Prevention) Act [NDPS Act].

3. (SBU) A senior Meghalaya police officer confirmed to ECON
FSN media reports about the volume of the drug seized and its
market value. Although the arrests were made in Shillong, the
two arrested -- Mohammed Sikander, alias Muzzafar Ali (36) and
Mohammed Naimuddin (33) -- are natives of neighboring Manipur,
an Indian border state with Burma, known for its thriving
illicit drug trade. Meghalaya has no international border with
Burma but shares a long border with Bangladesh. CID officials
told post that Sikandar was working as an assistant storekeeper
with the Geological Survey of India in Shillong.

4. (SBU) The senior police officer also expressed concern about
the security implications of the case as both Naimuddin and
Sikander are Pangals, a Muslim community of approximately 50,000
people indigenous to Manipur. Contacts in the Manipur police
confirmed many Pangal youths are involved in drug- and
gun-running rackets, extortion and other illegal activities.
Much of the illicit activity is conducted by the Pangal
insurgent group, Peoples United Liberation Front (PULF). Post
contacts in Manipur expressed concern about increasing
involvement of Pangals in drug trafficking and about the
potential links to terrorist activity. On December 19, 2006,
New Delhi Police arrested three Pangal youths, Salman Khurshid
Kori (23), Abdul Rehman (24) and Mohammad Akbar Hussain (20),
when they exited a bus from Jammu in New Delhi's Red Fort area.
The police alleged that the three were Laskhar-e-Taiba (LeT)
members and were carrying two kilograms of RDX, two detonators
and one hand grenade.

5. (SBU) Inadequate equipment is a constraint for law enforcing
agencies fighting drug trafficking in Meghalaya. A senior CID
official told post that the Meghalaya government has recently
submitted a request to the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in New
Delhi for essential equipment to combat drug trafficking. CID's
wish list includes vehicles, computers, and surveillance and
communication equipment. In 2001, the U.S. Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA) extended similar assistance to police in
the nearby Northeast Indian state of Mizoram.

6. (SBU) COMMENT: Northeast India is a major center for trade
of illicit drugs. Many of the region's ethnic insurgencies are
financed by drug and weapon smuggling. However, this recent
arrest is of greater concern to the Meghalaya police given the
quantity of heroin seized and the detainees' connection with the
Muslim Pangal community.
JARDINE

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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