In one of the most massive drug hauls in recent history, a huge quantity of around 18,600 kg of Ephedrine powder, worth around Rs 2,000 crore, was seized in Thane near Mumbai on 16 April.
Ephedrine, a banned drug in India, is widely used abroad to treat asthma and bronchitis, according to a report by The Indian Express. However, when it is consumed beyond controlled doses, it leads to euphoria, hallucinations and delusions.
Thane police also have information that the drugs may have been sent to Poland and other East European countries, a Mumbai Mirror report said.
As much as 3,000 kilograms of the drug were moved out of a manufacturing unit in Solapur in western Maharashtra in the past six to eight months, as per a report by The Times of India.
"A Nigerian national was apprehended on 10 April 10 for possessing half kg MD powder. He had come to sell the powder
in Navi Mumbai," Thane Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh told reporters.
However, during investigations it was revealed he had Ephedrine powder, which is a controlled drug, and not MD powder, he added.
On 12 April, two persons -- Sagar Powale and Mayur Sukhdare -- were arrested here for allegedly possessing around 2 kg of Ephedrine, police said.
Singh said their interrogation revealed the source of the drug was a factory in Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) area in Solapur (West Maharashtra).
An alleged drug peddler - Dhaneshwar Swamy was apprehended on April 14 in Solapur and 5.50 kg Ephedrine powder was seized from him, he said.
Swamy led police to the factory where the drug was allegedly being manufactured. Police raided the unit and arrested its senior production manager - Rajendra Dimri, Singh added.
Sometimes ephedrine is exported to Poland and other European countries. It is also used to manufacture MD powder and Meth Methamphetamine, the Commissioner said.
The factory, which was functioning illegally, has been sealed and the seized drug being brought to Thane, he said, adding, the drug was being manufactured for the past one and half years.
With inputs from PTI