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Mumbai police seize mephedrone worth ₹245 crore from factory in Sangli district; six held

The Mumbai police have busted a mephedrone manufacturing factory, surrounded by grape farms, in Maharashtra’s Sangli district and seized over a quintal of the narcotic substance worth ₹245 crore, an official said on March 27.

The latest haul, which also saw the arrest of six persons including “mephedrone maker” Pravin Shinde, was the outcome of an investigation after police seized drugs worth ₹7 crore in Mumbai last month.

Working on leads, the Mumbai Crime Branch on Monday raided a farm at Irali village in Sangli district and seized 122.5 kg of mephedrone, a synthetic stimulant, the official said.

The police have so far seized ₹252 crore worth of the narcotic substance in connection with the case.

Shinde (34), the main accused, was known as “Doctor” in his circle. Originally from Tasgaon in Sangli district and born and brought up in Mira Road on the outskirts of Mumbai, he studied up to Class 10 but excelled in drug making, the official said.

Shinde visited Uttar Pradesh to seek training in mephedrone production before setting up a lab in Irali village along with his aides, the official said.

Of the six persons arrested on Monday, five are farmers from Sangli, he said.

The accused individuals had purchased 12 acres of land in the village, surrounded by grape farms.

Shinde earned ₹1 lakh per kilogram of the drug he manufactured, the official said, adding that he also has his handlers. The police have widened their probe to track down others involved in the syndicate.

The mephedrone seized at the factory was in crystal form, also called “Lavish”, he said.

On February 16, the police arrested two drug peddlers, including a woman, in Mumbai’s Kurla and recovered 3.6 kg of mephedrone, worth ₹7 crore, from them. Two more persons were later apprehended from Surat in Gujarat during the investigation, he said.

“So far, police have arrested 10 persons of the drug manufacturing syndicate and recovered 126.141 kg of mephedrone worth ₹252.55 crore,” said Deputy Commissioner of Police (Detection) Datta Nalawade.

The syndicate had been operating for the past seven months and had established its own distribution network, he said.

The police also seized raw materials and equipment to produce mephedrone from the Sangli factory, he said.

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