The Insider Story: Goa Drug Market

A lot of what is said about the drug business in Goa is confused between facts and myths. GoaChronicle.com brings to you an interview of a man who has been an insider of the drug business in Goa in order to get to the truth. We have decided to keep his identity under-cover as a measure of protection as the information is startling and if the Goa government is serious in addressing the drug issue we will assist.…

GoaChronicle.com: You have been associated with the drug trade in Goa for some years now. Could you tell our readers what did you do and now why a need to make people aware of the dangers of drugs?

Whistle Blower: I started out as a member of the local youth gang in Goa and first encountered drugs at the early age of 13.

Initially it was just Hashish and Marijuana.  By the age of 16 I had experimented with cocaine and heroin. The progression occurred and by mid nineties we were all on steady doses of LSD. With the advent of Goa Trance the consumptions of drugs knew no bounds.

Mescaline and DMT were the new gods. Ecstasy was being smuggled from the UK to Goa by backpackers by the load because it was available there for a pound each and Goa was flooded by the same.  During the millennium the rage was cocaine and alcohol fuelled parties that were being held all over the North Coast.

Presently as a Goan I see that majority of the Goan youth are abusing drugs. During my time it was a select few who indulged. Now with the digital age and awareness almost everybody is on some kind of high. This is very disturbing to see. I just want the youth to know that psychedelic drugs may seem cool at first but are harmful in the long run.  And will eventually hurt you and your family. Destroy your relationships and hurt your personal growth if not checked.

GC: Goa is being portrayed as a paradise for drugs. Do you agree with this portrayal considering you have been witness to the drug trade in other parts of India and abroad?

WB: There is a myth and a fact to the notion that Goa is a drug paradise. Of course there is no denial that major Indian metropolitan cities have their share of the drug trade which at any given time is much higher than the local Goan market but the ready availability of drugs here coupled with the holiday atmosphere as well as media hype has made Goa a drug destination for young Indian and foreign tourists alike.  But this does not mean that it is a drug paradise. Yes drugs are available easily in Goa, if you go looking for it. It is not that they are sold over the counters. But the myth is that all over Goa drugs are available, which is the wrong portrayal. You mostly find drugs along the coastal belts in key pockets and in some pockets in cities such as Margao, Panjim and Vasco. This however is only known to a few and those in it know about it and where to find it.

More importantly, when tourists leave Goa they also end up carrying with them drugs back home for further consumption for his friends and other contacts, since it is readily available and also economical. These drugs are then sold at a higher rate.

Additionally we have a checkered history of the hippie culture which is the origins of drugs first touching Goan shores

GC: Is there a cartel of the drug trade in the local market or is it local dealers who act more as sellers getting consignments from parts of North or South India to sell in Goa?

WB: Drugs arrive from various destinations around the world into Goa. There are different dealers and distributors operating in Goa comprising of local, Kashmiris, Nigerian and foreigners (Russians, Israelis and others) but so far though it appears to be like a cartel, there is no monopoly on the market by any particular group but their individual markets are clearly defined. The Nigerians currently are operating alone and trade only in synthetic cocaine which is coming from their labs in Mira Road Mumbai. Kashmiri’s deal in everything and so do the locals. The foreigners sell only to foreigners (like a Russian will only sell drugs to a Russians). The locals and foreigners share a good rapport.  But it is the locals that control most of the market with connections across supply lines of drugs.

GC: What are the kind of drugs available in Goa and their prices?

WB: Here is a chart to make it simpler

GC: Where is the international presence of Israelis, Russian, and Nigerians in the local drug trade?

WB: Israeli’s are a dying tribe in Goa but not completely non-existent, they do have some drug dealers which have now become famous of television. They controlled the market in 90 and early 2000’s. Russians and the Nigerians is the growing international drug tribe in Goa. Russians prefer to concentrate peddling their drugs amongst their kind itself and do not mingle too much with other Indian tourists; they do have strong connection with the local Goans but not necessarily to peddle their drugs to the Indians but the Russians itself. In fact Russians are running Meth Labs in Mandrem and Morjim.

Nigerians have now started dominating the Calangute belt and making inroads into Anjuna. While most drugs are dangerous; the ones specially sold by the Nigerians which are cheaper are of poor quality thereby increasing the danger quotient of the drugs sold. Prior to this the Italians, Swiss, French and Germans were the major players from 70’s till early 90’s

GC: Goa is slowly losing its market for Heroin but synthetic drugs, cocaine and charas has seen an increase in the local market?

WB: Hashish and Marijuana are the most sold drugs in Goa. But Cocaine is also the most sought after drug by the Indian tourists and now synthetic Cocaine. In fact Indians ends up buying more drugs than the foreigner in Goa as they have the Budgets to spend; and the kind of foreign tourist who come to Goa do not spend that high on new age drugs.

GC: We have been given to understand that the drugs are sold based on days at different places across North and South Goa?

WB: Local players some of whom own high profile party joints or organize high profile Rave parties (some of which are underground) have an understanding amongst themselves and they have mutually agreed of having parties at their venues on select days so as to attract maximum crowds at one venue on a given day; it also makes the supplies of drugs in the venues controllable without any situation going out of control. But most favorable days across these local joints; where you can get drugs are Tuesday, Wednesday being the most important day as the flea market operates on that day, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

GC: Where do the local Goan youth feature in drug usage?

WB: High on the list and growing. Goan youth are the most exposed and for them being local they are immediately accepted in the circles. They can avail anything on credit and are allowed free entrance at most of the party zones. LSD and Cocaine are the most widely used drugs besides Hashish amongst the local Goan youth.

GC: What according to you is the estimated size of the market of drugs sold locally?

WB: It lies anywhere between Rs 15 crore to Rs 20 crore a month. And the trend shows that the market is growing at an alarming rate in South Goa more than North Goa. In fact if you take the consumption of one the most sold drug, you will see that Marijuana or Ganja consumption in South Goa is on an average Rs 50-75kg a month from local dealers; while North Goa is about Rs 25-30 kg a month. But Cocaine and Synthetic Cocaine is sold extensively in the North. Hashish or charas as its known tops the consumption list (overall consumption in Goa being anywhere between 250-300 kgs per month)

GC: Where are the drugs sold locally coming from and how are they coming to Goa; is it through road or waterways?

WB: Drugs sold in Goa come from Kerala, Karnataka and Maharashtra from the South and West region of India; and from Manali and Delhi in the North. They are mostly brought in by road and trains. Carriers (or mules as they are normally called normally do not come in with large quantities). In fact most dealers prefer to utilize more mules with smaller quantities than sending large deliveries because it is not easily traceable and not easy to track as well. During the season time and especially during New Years, you find many mules coming into Goa from different parts of India to bring in supplies for the surged tourist market at that time; in fact most celebrity mules (known but not famous media faces from Bollywood, cricket etc are used sometimes) are used at that time. European women are the most preferred mules for LSD and Cocaine coming from Amsterdam, Spain and South America.

GC: Are the local law enforcement agencies involved in the drug trade and if so how?

WB: There is no smoke without fire. Of course most of the law enforcement personnel whose job is to keep a curb on the drug trade are on the take and some even peddle drugs. And I mean almost all. Some of them are even addicted to drugs and known to associate with local Goan drug suppliers. Local Goan peddlers are only arrested if they prove to be a challenge to the local authorities or grow too big to control. Mostly, it is the outsiders or non-locals who are mostly arrested having possession of drugs.

GC: Are the local politicians involved in the drug trade and if so how?

WB: This is tricky question to answer; because its definition is convoluted in the perception of most people in Goa. Politicians are involved in the drug trade in the manner of granting protection to drug dealers and peddlers. In my experience I have not known them to be involved directly in peddling drugs to customers but some do patronize it. And some of their children certainly trip on drugs. The growing market of drugs in the South Goa is also on account of protection and patronage of strong South Goa politicians; and North Goa especially in Morjim and Arambol have grown because of either a lack of will of the politicians or because of their will.

GC: What according to you is the most disturbing aspect of the drug market in Goa other than the growing usage amongst local youth?

WB: The Goa local supply and demand market will be in the range of Rs 500 to Rs 1000 crore; but it is export market that is estimated to be over Rs 5000 crore. I have never been directly involved in the export of drugs to other parts of the world but being in the trade you do find out. In fact, an investigation with the customs or coast guard will give an indication of the approximate size of this market. Goa is a transit point for distribution of drugs; some like I mentioned also are manufactured in Goa.  But nobody has been able to control or check the export market. There is a huge drug export market from Goa.

GC: What according to you can the current government do to curb this menace?

WB: In order to stop the supply, you need to stop the demand. One of the major avenues of sale of drugs are the rave and underground parties which are the supermarkets for selling the drugs to the Indian and foreign tourist. The Anti-Narcotic cells some of whose personnel I have interacted with are aware of most these rave parties, local joints and players in the game; but they do not have the will to curb it because there is no political will. If the government can put a ban to rave parties which have now become legends for drug peddling in the Indian and international market; you can bring the demand down and probably curb the menace if not end it.

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