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Bengaluru-Hyderabad NCB units unearth Alprazolam manufacturing racket

In a joint operation, officials working with the Benglauru unit and Hyderabad sub-zone of the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) unearthed another inter-State Alprazolam manufacturing racket and arrested five people on Saturday. The accused were producing the short-acting tranquilliser at a clandestine laboratory in Hyderabad — the second to be uncovered in two months. Around 3.25 kg of Alprazolam was recovered.

After receiving a tip-off, a team led by zonal director Amit Ghawate intercepted two cars near Medak on the Hyderabad national highway and apprehended four people, identified as Y. Sudhakar, A. Naresh, K.P. Kumar, and A. Srikanth. A total of 3.25 kg of Alprazolam and ₹12,75,000 in cash was recovered from them, which is proceeds of drugs, said the NCB.

The probe revealed that Sudhak was the supplier and manufacturer, while A. Naresh was the receiver. They were apprehended during an exchange of Alprazolam and cash.

Following a spot interrogation, the NCB team located a clandestine laboratory that was operating in a residential area, in the house of Y. Sudhakar at Balanagar, Hyderabad. “In this lab, raw Alprazolam at various stages of manufacturing was found along with apparatus such as flasks and reactors,” Mr. Ghawate said.

Some quantity of Alprazolam and a large quantity of raw material was seized from this clandestine lab as well. The team also uncovered another manufacturing facility in an adjoining flat and a makeshift storage room just below the overhead water tank.

According to the NCB, the accused had purchased a new reactor and drier to expand their Alprazolam manufacturing operations. In a follow-up operation, the fifth accused, R. Pamarthi, who was operating the laboratory, was also apprehended.

He had procured a licence to manufacture genuine medical formulation in the name of M/s. Kartikeya Life Sciences, but misused the facility for clandestine manufacture of Alprazolam, said the NCB. This syndicate has been operating for more than five years. Further investigation is on.

Alprazolam is a psychotropic substance belonging to the Benzodiazepine class, which are anti-depressants. According to the officials, its illegal manufacture and sale is a cause of concern for law enforcement agencies. In June this year, the bureau had unearthed an illegal drug manufacturing facility in Bidar. The accused were allegedly smuggling Alprazolam produced in the Karnataka facility to Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, where it is widely used as a cutting agent for toddy.

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