Drug trafficking is one of the most serious problems for most countries all over
the world. Unfortunately, this type of business is rather profitable, if not to
consider that it is constantly related to murders, kidnapping, prostitution and
Certainly drug trafficking contributes to better distribution of drugs, thus
involving more and more people, making them addicted. Taking into consideration
all the possible dangers, drugs are able to bring to any society, most countries
are working constantly in order to prevent use and distribution of drugs which
are not legal. The rage of responsibility varies in different countries, from
fines and several years in prison to death punishment. Generally, drug trafficking
means production, distribution and sale of illegal
Historically, it is possible to talk about appearance of illegal drug trade
around the beginning of the 19th century. China retaliated by enforcing the ban
on imports of opium that led to the First Opium War (1839�1842) between Great
Britain and China
. The highest authorities in China struggled against free
sales of opium, whereas United Kingdom pushed China to let the merchants from
China bring opium without any bans. However the volumes of opium trade continued
to grow, because smoking opium turned into a habit among usual people.
that the number of opium addicts grew immensely in the 19th century. The Second
Opium War took place in 1856, the result of the two wars was that the British
Crown, via two treaties, took large sums of money from the Chinese government
through this illegal trade, which were referred to as reparations
In the year 1868, the government of the UK took the decision to restrict sale of
opium in the Pharmacy Act. In 1914 Harrison Act followed in the United States.
Thus, it is clear, that even taking into consideration the fact, that opium sale
brought good profits, sooner or later, governments had to restrict and take
under control illegal drugs, in order not to worsen the situation with addicted
Those countries, where drugs transit and distribution was widely developed, had
to face the problems with drug addicted individuals. Most researches confirm the
fact that illegal drug trade is closely related to crimes' rate, namely such
violent crimes, as murders. In this case we are unfortunately talking not only
about developing, but about developed countries as well. For example, In the
late 1990s in the United States the Federal Bureau of Investigation estimated
that 5% of murders were drug-related. Because of high cost of the illegal drugs
and strong addiction, people are likely to commit serious crimes, including
robberies, burglaries, murders and so on.
The fact, that drugs were illegal, unfortunately could not restrict the actual
sale and distribution, on the contrary this field of criminal activity was able
to bring such high profits and the system was so well-built, that drugs became
integrated into the American culture.
There appeared certain layers of society,
where the high cost could not be an obstacle and drugs were used as a type of
recreational activity. Irrespective of constant attempts to seize control over
this problem by the authorities, it is still remaining actual for the USA as
well as other countries all over the world. The 1940s brought prohibition of
opiates, the 1960s � of marijuana and the 1970s � of heroin, however cocaine and
other drugs continued to arrive to the U.S. through the Mexican border.
results were that first of all the number of drug-addicted people constantly
grew and secondly, illegal drugs' trade proved to be a business of very high
profits and in fact a lot of businessmen invested exactly into this industry.
Political impact, which illegal drug trade had, could not be underestimated as
The government was taking specific steps in order to restrict drug
trafficking and trade, but with poor results. Marijuana was imported from the
Latin America, whereas cocaine was received from Mexico and Colombia.
Heroin is another wide-spread illegal drug, initially cultivated in the Golden
Triangle � Southeast Asia. In addition, opiate was transported from Afghanistan
Drug Trafficking in India:
For the last three decades India has become a transit hub as well as a
destination for heroin and hashish produced in the Golden Triangle
the Golden Crescent
. In addition, various psychotropic and pharmaceutical
preparations and precursor chemicals produced domestically as well as in various
parts of the world are also trafficked through Indian territory. The two-way
illegal flow of these drugs and chemicals not only violates India's borders, but
also poses a significant threat to national security.
The nexus between drug traffickers, organised criminal networks and terrorists
has created a force powerful enough to cause instability in the country. Money
generated through drug trade has been used to fund various insurgent and
terrorist movements. For instance, it has been estimated that money generated
from the illegal sale of narcotics accounted for 15 per cent of the finances of
militant groups in Jammu and Kashmir.
Besides, criminal syndicates engaged in drug trafficking like the Dawood Ibrahim
gang have themselves resorted to terrorist acts in the past (the 1993 terrorist
attacks in Mumbai) or have become deeplyengaged in the business/logistics end
Further, drug trafficking facilitates other organised criminal
enterprises such as human trafficking and gun running, all of which use the same
networks and routes to smuggle people, arms and contraband. To cite an example,
the explosives used in the 1993 Mumbai terrorist attacks were smuggled into
India using the same routes through which drugs and other contraband items were
trafficked by the Dawood gang. Even today, terrorist groups use these routes to
source weapons and explosives across the borders.
India has been a traditional consumer of opium and various cannabis derivatives
(bhang, marijuana/ganja and hashish). These narcotics were mostly consumed for
medicinal purposes, for recreation or during religious and social ceremonies.
Earlier, almost all the demands for these drugs were met locally. Only a small
quantity of hashish was smuggled in from Nepal and Pakistan.
Since the country
had a long tradition of narcotics consumption, although at low levels, the
smuggling of hashish from across the borders, which was in any case far too less
a quantity, did not evince any alarm.
However, in the early 1980s, in the wake
of the inflow of heroin, which has widespread and disastrous consequences, drug
trafficking became an issue of concern. In subsequent years, the large scale
availability of synthetic and medicinal drugs and their abuse have added new
dimensions to the concerns about drug trafficking.
The global pattern of the
flow of illegal drugs reveals that of all drugs, heroin and cocaine are
trafficked for long distances; hashish is smuggled for relatively shorter
distances; and marijuana/ganja and psychotropic substances like Amphetamine Type
Stimulants (ATS), which are consumed locally travel the shortest distance.
Nearly 70% of these narcotics and drugs are trafficked over land using various
modes of transportation making the country's borders the first point of contact
for drug trafficking. As regards India, dependingupon the nature of the border
and its milieu as well as the production, demand and supply of drugs, different
borders display different trafficking patterns as follows:
- India-Pakistan border: The proximity of the India-Pakistan border to the
Golden Crescent', the largest producer of opium and cannabis in the world,
has made it vulnerable to the trafficking of heroin and hashish.
- India-Nepal border: Hashish and marijuana/ganja are the two cannabis
derivatives that have been traditionally trafficked from Nepal into India.
Lately, a growing demand for Nepalese and Bhutanese cannabis in India and a
corresponding demand for codeine based pharmaceutical preparations as well as
low-grade heroin in Nepal and Bhutan have resulted in two way smuggling of
narcotics and drugs through the India-Nepal and India-Bhutan borders.
- India-Myanmar border: Proximity of the India-Myanmar border to the
Golden Triangle', growing demand for drugs among the local population in
the North eastern states, political instability and insecurity brought about
by numerous insurgencies in the region as well as a porous and poorly
guarded border provided a proliferating environment for traffickers to
smuggle heroin and psychotropic substances into the country through the
- India-Bangladesh border: The India-Bangladesh border has been
susceptible to smuggling of various kinds of drugs ranging from heroin,
marijuana/ganja, hashish, brown sugar, cough syrups, etc. High demand for
codeine based cough syrups in Bangladesh, a highly porous border, dense
settlement along the border, and strong trans-border ethnic ties contribute
towards drug trafficking along the India-Bangladesh border.
Protecting the borders against violations by either traffickers or terrorists
becomes critical. At the same time, reducing the demand for drugs in domestic
markets is also essential. Towards this end, India has adopted a comprehensive
approach of reducing supply as well as demand for narcotics and drugs.
approach comprises four elements:
- first, enacting legislation;
- second, ensuring physical security of the borders and coasts;
- third, eliciting cooperation from neighbours and;
- fourth, co-operating with voluntary organizations in the national
endeavour to prevent abuse of narcotics and synthetic drugs.
In India, the NDPS Act 1985 controls drug abuse and drug trafficking. Under this
act, cultivation, manufacturing, transportation, export and import of all
narcotics drugs and psychotropic substances is prohibited except for medicinal
and scientific purposes and as authorized by the government. The Act provides
for rigorous punishment for any person violating this act and if a person is
caught peddling drugs for the second time, death penalty could be awarded to the
offender. The act also provides for the detention of any person for more than
two years in areas categorised by it as highly vulnerable
The NDPS Act also
provides for forfeiture of property acquired through illicit trafficking of
drugs.In addition, the government of India has also enacted the Prevention of
Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act in 1988, which
allows detention of persons suspected to be involved in illicit trafficking of
drugs.Besides, a few sections of the Customs Act of 1962 are implemented for
curbing the illicit export of precursor chemicals.
The enactment of various legislations has indeed provided the government with
the means to achieve the twin goals of reduction in drug supply and
demand. However effective implementation of the laws has to be ensured by the
executing authority so as to not let the law be a mere theory.