US national held in Himachal for drug peddling

Kullu, Feb 17 (IANS) A US national was arrested for drug peddling at Kullu in Himachal Pradesh, an official said on Friday.

He was staying in the area for five months and was allegedly indulging in trade of narcotics, a police official said.

He was held in Naggar area of Kullu on Friday.

A total of 126 kg of cannabis and 1,296 gram of hashish were seized from his possession, Superintendent of Police Padam Chand told reporters here.

A case under Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act has been registered against the US national.

On Thursday, an Israeli was repatriated after being convicted in a drug smuggling case.

Another Israeli national Lior Avi Ben Moyal was arrested for the same crime on Wednesday.

A Chandigarh court in July 2011 sentenced Moyal to 16 years of rigorous imprisonment.

Police officials said Moyal, who was part of an international drugs cartel, would spend the remainder three years of prison sentence in a prison in Israel.

A Czech Republic national, Andreevi Jiri, and Kullu resident Narender Kumar were also arrested by the NCB along with Moyal.

The NCB had recovered contraband charas worth Rs 45 crore in the international market from them.

In the past five years, over 70 foreigners, mainly Britons, Israelis, Dutch, Germans, Japanese and Italians, have been arrested under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act.

The Magic Valley in the upper reaches of Malana, some 50 km from Kullu town, is known for production of “Malana Cream”, the prized hashish, a purified resinous extract of cannabis.

Easy availability of narcotics in McLeodganj and its surrounding areas in Kangra district and Karsol in Kullu district have turned the area into an addicts’ haven, police say.

The crime rate under the NDPS Act is 7.7 per cent in Himachal Pradesh, compared to 2.8 per cent in the country.