PESHAWAR: Since the formation of the narcotics eradication teams (NETs) at district level across Khyber Pakhtunkhwa in July this year, drug hauls by the police have increased several times.

The provincial cabinet had decided on July 7 to set up NETs in districts as the dedicated unit to seize methamphetamine, heroin and other types of synthetic drugs.

The details of drug busts made by the NETs between July and Sept 2021 compared with the corresponding period of the last year show that the recoveries have jumped up following the crackdown of the teams on drug dealers.

The documents show that since the NETs’ formation, the recovery of methamphetamine across the province jumped from 53.9kg to 279kg, that of heroin from 176kg to 459kg, opium’s from 112kg to 311kg and that of charas from 3354kg to 4,000kg.

Narcotics eradication teams were set up at district level in July

The Peshawar division’s NETs recovered the highest 168kg methamphetamine, 306kg heroin, 231kg opium and 945kg charas during three months under review.

During the period in the current year, 13,756 FIRs were registered across the province compared to 11,699 last year. Also, 14,434 people were arrested in the current year, while 14,600 were charged.

Khyber district police officerWaseem Riaz told Dawn that the formation of NETs had greatly changed the course of war on drugs.

He said perilously, the police used to treat drugs the same way as they dealt the other crimes.

“It was the responsibility of the SHO to go after drug dealers but they were mostly preoccupied with law and order situation, protest and other issues,” he said.

He, however, said the formation of dedicated and centrally located counter-narcotics wing, overseen by the head of district police was something very unique and had greatly changed the way the war on drugs was being handled.

He said besides arresting drug dealers and busting the business, NETs were also engaging intelligence collection about drug dealings.

Mr Riaz said since its formation, Khyber district’s NET had seized 81kg crystal meth, 350kg heroin and 736kg charas, made 221 arrests, registered 182 FIRs and shut 18 drug factories.

“These NET teams were formed for the police department to share intelligence about drug smuggling in near real time, which increases the chances of recoveries and arrests,” he said.

The DPO said such information sharing between Khyber and Peshawar police had led to recovery of a huge quantity of crystal meth in Gulbahar besides leading to raids and recoveries in Karakhano Market and Hayatabad.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2021

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