The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad has raided a manufacturing unit on the outskirts of Vadodara city and seized a huge cache of the banned mephedrone drug and its raw material worth Rs 478.65 crore, an ATS official said on Wednesday.
During the raid at the small factory-cum-godown near Sindhrot village of Vadodara district on Tuesday night, the ATS also arrested five persons from the spot, he said.
A preliminary investigation revealed the accused were making mephedrone, also known MD drug, a narcotic substance, for the last 45 days in the factory which was erected using metal sheets, the ATS said in an official release.
During the raid, the ATS recovered 63.6 kg of mephedrone and 80.26 kg of its raw material worth Rs 478.65 crore, the release said.
The machinery used for manufacturing the drug was also seized, it said.
Those arrested have been identified as Saumil Pathak, Shailesh Kataria, Vinod Nijama, Mohammad Shafi Dewan and Bharat Chavda, the release said.
The investigation revealed Vadodara resident Saumil Pathak had learnt the process of making narcotic drugs from the 'dark web' and roped in others after setting up the unit near Sindhrot, the ATS said.
Accused Kataria, a chemistry graduate, used to work as a chemist at the factory to produce the MD drug using various materials, while the three others used to handle other logistical operations, the release said.
The probe revealed the Mumbai police caught Pathak with drugs in 2017 and he was then sent to jail.
During his time in jail, he came in contact with one Salim Dola, who gave Pathak guidance about drug manufacturing and also arranged the raw material for him, the ATS release said.