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International drug ring busted

Last updated on: April 21, 2005 23:00 IST

A major Internet drug ring allegedly headed by two Indian nationals has been busted and 20 people arrested in the US and four other countries, the American Drug Enforcement Administration has announced.

"The international Internet drug ring has been shattered, the traffickers arrested and Indian-Australian-Costa Rican-Canadian cyber criminal alliances shut down," Drug Enforcement Administrator Karen P Tandy said.

Over the past 48 hours, there were 20 arrests in eight US cities and foreign countries. Domestically, arrests occurred in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Ft Lauderdale and Sarasota, Florida; Abilene and Tyler, Texas; New York, NY; Greenville, SC; and Rochester, New York.

Internationally, arrests were made in San Jose, Costa Rica; New Delhi, Agra, and Mumbai.

The arrests were the result of Operation 'Cyber Chase', a year-long Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force investigation that targeted international Internet pharmaceutical traffickers operating in the United States, India, Asia, Europe and the Caribbean.

These e-traffickers distributed drugs worldwide using 'rogue' Internet pharmacies.

Operation Cyber Chase began after the DEA Philadelphia Division identified a Philadelphia-based international Internet drug trafficking organisation, allegedly headed by Indian nationals Brij Bhusan Bansal and Akhil Bansal. Five members of the Bansal family have been charged.

Brij Bansal was nabbed on Wednesday by a team of officials from the Narcotics Bureau after raids at his Kamla Nagar residence, godown and the residence of his brother Anil in Noori Darwaza led to recovery of large quantities of banned drugs, sources said.

His brother was also arrested, sources added.

T V Parasuram in Washington