A simple theft of a battery from a cellular tower turned into murder and then led to the arrest of a gang of international drug smugglers late on Friday. Following the murder, the police arrested seven Nigerians believed to be members of the gang.
The two murder suspects had stabbed a prayer leader to death, after he caught them stealing a battery from a cellular tower. After their arrest they told police that were going to sell the battery to get money to buy heroin from “a gang of Nigerians”.
And this gang was what police went after next. They seized Bangraalie, the main suspect in the case and the gang leader, and seized a kilogram of heroine from his possession. They nabbed six more Nigerians through him. Two of them had heroin on them at the time of arrest.
“One of them was smuggling heroin from Lahore and was taking it to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka and other regional countries by air,” said Industrial area ASP Dr Khalil Ahmed, who led the investigations.
The suspects would swallow capsules filled with heroin to conceal them from customs at the ports. None of the suspects, except their alleged leader, had travel documents or proof of legal stay in Pakistan.
Bangraalie told the police that he would get heroin concealed in the boxes of Corn Flakes from another Nigerian based in Lahore. They would use the Karachi Company bus stand in G-9 for travelling between Lahore and Islamabad.
“This slender-looking man can actually swallow about 80 capsules of heroin at one time,” said ASP Ahmed, adding that Bangraalie had gone to Sri Lanka, Maldives, Bangladesh and other regional countries.
The suspect told police that he would buy a kilogram of heroin for $2,800 from Lahore and would sell it for as much as $5,000 abroad. He wouldn’t visit a single country more than once in a year. No one ever suspected a thing.
The police, however, believe that his profit margins were much higher, given the “much higher” price of heroin in the international market. They said they are looking for his supplier in Lahore.
Police said each capsule is over an inch in length and can hold almost 80 grams on heroin in it. The capsules are swallowed with water or a drink. Later, when it is time for them to come out, a glass of raw milk does the trick, Bangraalie told the police.
He further revealed that his network was spread in the entire I-10 sector, besides other parts of the city and most of his clients were young men between the ages of 16-25.
The four Nigerians arrested without travel documents were booked under Foreigners Act and were sent to jail from where they would be deported while Bangraalie and his other two accomplices were booked under anti-narcotics act and were under investigations, said police.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2012.