By Christopher Thomas
Rabat – Indian police are currently looking for Romil Bhai, a Moroccan national born in India and allegedly part of a Moroccan drug cartel.
Along with another Moroccan identified as “Alex,” Romil met three Indians in a room at Dubai’s great tower, Burj Khalifa. These men, Jay Mukhi, Manoj Jain, and Kishore Rathod, have been implicated in the Ephedrine drug bust as well.
The meeting in Burj Khalifa was expected to establish new supply lines and trade routes into Morocco to supply local cartels. Notorious drug lord Vicky Goswami is likely to have been involved. Goswami is recognized as an international drug dealer by both the Indian Thane police and the American Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). He also has suspected ties with Bollywood actress Mamta Kulkarni, whom he allegedly married in a Dubai prison. She purportedly participates actively in his drug empire. Both deny this accusation.
Avon Lifesciences Limited, a pharmaceutical corporation from Solapur, Maharashtra is also allegedly involved. This company produces Ephedrine, a component in many pharmaceutical drugs, and is suspected of diverting its supply to Goswami’s cartel, which then uses it to produce Methamphetamine. Police expect that this drug is sent to markets in the United States, Mexico, South Africa, Pakistan, Colombia, and other African nations, but not all of these nations have been definitively confirmed.
This became publically known on June 18th as police seized 18.5 tons of Ephedrine from Avon Lifesciences Ltd. in Solapur and arrested ten suspects. The defense attorneys claim that the seized material was waste product and could not have been sold to drug cartels. However, the police have statements from several former workers at Avon Lifesciences Ltd. who claim that they quit the company after discovering drug materials were supplied to cartels.
According to the Indian Express, a senior officer claimed that police “are trying to ascertain the identity of Romil Bhai, whom some of the arrested accused keep referring to. They told us that they had attended a meeting at Burj Khalifa at which Moroccan nationals Romil and Alex were present.”
Police currently believe that Romil was born in Gujarat, and later moved to Morocco. Thehindu.com reports that Thane Police Commissioner Param Bir Singh said the suspects “had a meeting at a Burj Khalifa hotel in Dubai on April 8, where two Moroccan drug lords were present,” referring to Romil and Alex.
A mixed force of Indian police from various jurisdictions as well as the Anti-Narcotics Cell are searching for several key members of the cartels that were critical to negotiating supply and dissemination. The DEA is sharing information with its Indian counterparts. The Moroccan suspects remain at large.