They were selling crystal meth in Dhaka city in the guise of running a ‘buying house’
Elite force Rapid Action Battalion claims to have arrested the chief and his five aides of a syndicate involved in peddling the highly addictive stimulant drug called crystal methamphetamine, better known as “Ice”.
Commander Khandaker Al Moin, director of RAB's legal and media wing, said that the gang used to run the drug business from an apartment in the area, which they had rented in the pretext of running a “buying house”, reports Bangla Tribune.
They have been selling “Ice” for the last two years, and used to serve the drugs to their clients in the apartment.
The arrested “Ice” ring kingpin is Toufiq Hossain and his aides are Jamirul Chowdhury Zubein, Arafat Abedin Rudra, Rakib Khan Bashar, Khaled Iqbal and Saiful Islam Sabuj. They were held from different areas of Uttara during a drive in the small hours on Friday.
Most of them are private university students.
The accused used to bring the contraband drug item along with yaba pills from Cox’s Bazar, and then sold those across the capital and elsewhere.
During the raid, the law enforcers seized “Ice”, yaba pills, foreign liquor, cannabis, instruments used for drug consumption and different chemical reagents and lab equipment. Also, 13 firearms, replicas of firearms, several airguns, walkie talkies, swords and electronic shockers were seized then.
Methamphetamine is a nervous system stimulant, and among the world's most notorious and addictive drugs. It is referred to by various colloquial names, including crystal, meth, speed and yaba, depending on location and proportion of pure methamphetamine.
Yaba, the most popular variant in Bangladesh, is usually mixed with caffeine. "Ice" contains a much higher proportion of methamphetamine.
Also Read - Biggest 'ice' haul busted in Bangladesh
There are more than 50 "Ice" abusers in Dhaka city now, who used to buy the drug item from them regularly.
Who were their main customers?
Their main target group is the young men and women from well-off families.
“The arrestees are members of a closed group and used to collect the drug items from Teknaf, Cox’s Bazar. After that, they would send those to rich young men and women” the RAB official said.
In some cases, their clients were forced to consume the drugs in their apartment, where the crime ring would blackmail them too.
“Upon serving them Ice and yaba pills, they used to rob them of money at gun point. Since all their clients were listed, they used to keep an eye on them regularly,” Moin said.
Zubein, the key sponsor
Even though Toufiq used to coordinate everything of their “business”, Zubein was the main financier. Sabuj, Rakib and Khaled were tasked with the shipment of "Ice", with Rudra working as a chemist in the apartment.
Zubein had graduated in the UK and upon his return to Bangladesh, he had been living in Uttara. Already highly addicted to yaba tablets, he became involved in the “Ice trade” to make a quick buck.
He even used to consume up to 20 yaba pills in one go, the RAB sources said.
Also Read - Crystal meth worth 60L seized in Dhaka, 6 held
Toufiq obtained his bachelor’s degree while Khaled completed his post-graduation. Rudra and Saiful are college dropouts. Rakib is a public university student.
Zubein was already named in a murder case, while Rudra was sued in three drugs cases.
The ‘Ice age’ in Bangladesh
According to the RAB official, youths from different universities have been addicted to this crystal meth drug, which was first detected in Bangladesh in February, 2019.
The law enforcers recently arrested several youths of private universities in Dhaka for possessing hallucinogenic drug LSD or lysergic acid diethylamide.
Earlier, the Department of Narcotics Control in Cox’s Bazar seized 2kg crystal meth worth approximately Tk3 crore from Teknaf upazila’s Hnila Union Parishad on March 4. It was the biggest ever haul of the drug in the country.
The previous biggest haul weighing 600 grams was busted in Dhaka in November last year.