Police bust gang of social media drug dealers in Karachi -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

Police bust gang of social media drug dealers in Karachi

Pakistan Press Foundation

KARACHI: At Café Zero Degree, trance and dance music pounded on the speakers but one group of youngsters were not partying. From their faces they appeared to have been hungry for days; the dark circles around their eyes bespoke of their sleeplessness. But this night was going to be different for them. They were anxiously awaiting a friend who had gone to ‘score’ ice (crystalline methamphetamine) but, when he returned, he surprised everyone with the new friends he brought with him: the police.

Darakhshan police nabbed a group whom they term ‘social media drug dealers’. The group’s modus operandi to peddle the drugs is different from traditional drug dealers. They would create an event page for a party on Facebook and, as customers bought passes, they would ask them if they were interested in getting drugs at the party.

“This group comprises at least eight members, unfortunately all of them are young – between the ages of 20 and 25. Four of them have already been arrested,” explained District South police chief SSP Javed Akbar Riaz. “Most of them belonged to well-off families living in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Shadman Town and North Nazimabad and are themselves drug addicts,” he told The Express Tribune.

The police managed to trace and arrest them with the help of an informant. “Our informant approached them to obtain drugs. Basically, he trapped them while claiming he was a customer,” SSP Akbar explained. “The gang had been operating for a couple of years. Initially, they started these activities within their localities and then extended to the entire city.”

They use to make friends, particularly via social media. “Initially, they used to make friends through social media and offer them free delivery of drugs at their doorsteps,” the officer explained. “They would provide you all sorts of drugs, from hashish to crystal meth. To attract customers, they used to deliver the drugs free-of-cost the first time, eventually gaining permanent customers.”

Apart from social media, the private parties were another opportunity for drug dealers to attract new young customers for their products. “They would be at the parties, providing drugs if anyone was unable to ‘score’ before the party,” SSP Akbar explained. “It is a proper chain and each member has his own responsibility. We have to go after them and the person supplying drugs to them.”

Parties such as these are well-organised in terms of security and privacy, due to the involvement of drugs and prostitution. A frequent visitor to such parties, A*, shared that usually the organisers create an event for the parties on social media and from there interested people approach them for passes.

All the forms of entertainment available at the party are described on the event page, however, the location of the party is never disclosed unless one buys a pass. Sometimes they call you on the day of the party and disclose the venue, which could be at a private farm house or a hut on the beach.

He added that at such events the price of the pass starts from Rs5,000 and can reach Rs15,000. One can obtain all kinds of drugs and booze at the events and usually, organisers encourage couples to attend rather than single men.

Shahab Yasin, 19, who was arrested for possession of ice, maintained that it was the first time he got involved in this. “I regret and swear to God that I will never return to this thing. I was lured by a profit of Rs2,000 to Rs3,000 per 10 grammes of ice.”

The other youngsters behind bars at Darakhshan police station say that the drug scene has penetrated deep into educational institutions, including the most prestigious ones in the city. “A considerable number of youngsters have become addicted to these drugs.”

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