A Nigerian national suspected of being a notorious kingpin of a major racket supplying drugs in Kerala, India has been apprehended by the Kasaragod police.
Kasaragod ASP P.K. Raju, who supervised the case, and Bekal DySP C.K. Sunil Kumar, who arrested the suspect in Bengaluru, on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, identified her as Hafsa Rihanath Usman, alias Blessing Joy.
A Kasaragod court remanded her in judicial custody on Wednesday May 17.
The arrest of the accused comes as part of intensified efforts by law enforcement agencies to tackle the rising drug menace in Kerala.
The investigating officers said she was arrested based on information from Abu Bakar (35), his wife Ameena Azara (23) residing in the Melaparamba police station limits, A.K. Wasim (32) of Kalyana Nagar in Karnataka, and Suraj (32), a resident of Bengaluru, all of whom were arrested on April 22 at Uduma Pallath in Kasaragod.
The police said that Abu Bakar, during interrogation, revealed that drugs were delivered to them from Bengaluru after they had contacted the dealer on a WhatsApp number.
Subsequent investigation revealed that the number belonged to the Nigerian woman. The investigation team said the Nigerian Embassy has been informed about the arrest of the woman.
“When arrested, she did not have any passport, visa or other documents. The woman reached Bengaluru on a student visa a year-and-a-half ago. It is suspected that her main aim was drug trade under the guise of studies,” said the police.
The suspect was arrested on the basis of instructions from District Police Chief Vaibhav Saxena, who is leading ‘Operation Clean Kasaragod’, to find the source of the drug.
Mr. Raju and Mr. Sunil Kumar said it is suspected that there is a large group behind the woman as part of the racket, adding that further investigation was on.
“Over the past two years and a half, Kasaragod police seized commercial quantities of MDMA 35 times. We suspect the contraband came from Hafsa in most of these cases,” said District Police Chief Vaibhav Saxena.
“She is a big fish. You can say she is the chief executive of her racket,” he said.
Hafsat reportedly told police that she is 22 and had lost her passport after arriving in Bengaluru on a student visa in January 2022.
“We neither believe her age nor her date of arrival,” Saxena said, adding that if she had lost her passport, she did not report it.
Kasaragod police had pulled out the statement of a bank account allegedly linked to the accused.
“We checked the transactions for three months and found Rs 68-70 lakh was being credited to the account every month,” the officer revealed.
The district police chief added that his team had conclusive evidence to put Hafsa behind bars for at least 10 years.
Inspectors P.K. Pradeep, K.M. John, senior civil police officers Sudhir Babu, Sreejith, Seema and Deepak, and civil police officers Nikesh, Harish, Sarish and Reshma Patoli were part of the police team that nabbed the accused.