24June2017

Goa's Spirited Online Weekly Magazine.

GOA’S DRUG MENACE - 2

Goa in the eightiesDecember 9-15, 2013

This the second of two investigative articles by Lionel Messias that appeared on GOA TODAY (April, 1986: DRUG TRAFFICKING IN GOA: The Foreign Connection) and is being reproduced now to show that the drug menace as it existed in the Eighties continues in the same vein.  This time he traces the foreigner’s involvement in the Eighties decade.

Little has changed in decades - 2

Many years ago, a radio transmitter located in an isolated house on the Arpora road, used to receive messages from Taiwanese freighters heading for the Port of Mormugao.  While the house remains to this day, ‘it is situated on a hillock a few hundred metres away from ‘Haystack’; with the advent of the bulk carriers, the charter of the cumbersome freighters has greatly declined, and subsequently affected the modus operandi of drug trafficking into Goa.

In the freighter days, ‘buoyant’ packages would be dropped in Indian territorial waters to be picked up immediately by light fiberglass boats put out to sea anywhere between Calangute and Tiracol.

In later years, drug trafficking shifted from the foreign mafia into the hands of Indians (and locals), though occasionally in danger of being uncovered, competent enough to run the trade efficiently.

The bulk suppliers of drugs, Afghans, Kashmiris and Iranians and in India, those who operate from Manali in Himachal Pradesh, deal with anyone having the money to buy their drugs.  Sources say that a few foreigners are today frustrated with the gradual takeover of their drug trade, once their monopoly.  Veterans like Thomas Helmin, Robert Chapman, Sahim Mir (a South African), Peter Zelem, Rivabemo Maximo, Alexandre Weda, Roman Gehere and Franco, an Italian who returned to Goa for a short while last year, are today only legendary names in the drug underworld here.

However, centre-court in Goa’s drug trafficking is still held by the foreign mafia.  Take the case of Afonso William Poilon, who was in Krakow, Poland, lived in Canada where he worked as a cook and restaurant manager and in the USA for a while, before coming here and setting up a house at Vagator, in 1977.  He started a restaurant in Vagator with Manmohan Singh, a British citizen since 1975.  Singh formerly lived at 2713, Sardar Thana Road, New Delhi.  He was first issued a British passport at New Delhi in 1973 and was subsequently issued a duplicate copy (no. L. 112689) in London on January 21, 1975, where he was employed between April 1974 to 1977 by her Majesty’s Prisons as a physical instructor.  Singh had a criminal record in the UK and is known to have travelled from Goa to London and Europe a few times.  One such visit between June 1977 to September 1979 was to visit his wife and children living at 60, Patterson Court, Peerless Street, London.

It is not known for certain, but possibilities exist, that the Indian befriended and helped a Goan youth arrested as a suspect in a murder case in England.  Singh later contacted the youth in Goa and hired the house of his father, an illustrious son of the village.  Poilon, barrel-shaped and bearded, probably holds the unenviable distinction of being the first ever drug pusher in Goa.  It is possible that he first met Singh in England.

On January 19, 1980, the Goa Customs raided ‘Dogs Inn’ restaurant and seized 6.75 kg. of charas.  The Customs also arrested the cook Suresh Chandra, and Amarjit Singh, alias ‘Bhambra’, brother of Harcharan Singh alias ‘Billoo’ (see earlier article).

In 1981, the Canadian and the Indian, both heavy drinkers, separated after a quarrel.  A few months later, in April 1981, the landlord and Poilon quarreled, and the French-Canadian was forced to vacate his ‘headquarters’.  He changed houses frequently to avoid detection and continues to push drugs even today.  Now, carrying a limp after a road accident, Poilon resides in Zorint, Anjuna, has two or three houses, and is always accompanied by his Alsatian dog, even while travelling in his jeep.  Poilon is known to prepare liquid hashish using ethyl alcohol to increase the T.H.C content – and the kick!  He is considered to be an excellent ‘packer of hashish’ and an expert boat-builder, and has helped another colourful drug trafficker, Prince Nimrad, to construct his fibre glass boat.

Princely Kingpins

The ‘Prince’ is a character straight out of a fiction novel.  Imposing and well-built, he ‘softens’ people with his hypnotic state.  He lives in a huge 16-room bungalow with (under-ground chambers) and has a jeep (Maharashtra registration) and two ‘wives’.  Nimrad has a daughter who lives with one wife at Baga and speaks Konkani with the same fluency as her father.  The Russian-Armenian Jew has another daughter in Israel.  The ‘Prince’ leads a lavish life, entertaining friends with pomp.  The bungalow is well decorated and protected by fierce dogs, trained to be suspicious of Indians only.  Two enforcement officers claimed they were impressed by the imported equipment he had, including an electrical welding machine, in his workshop at Anjuna.  The boat constructions continued unhindered, and ironically, Nimrad goes on regular ‘holidays’ to Europe.

The Registration of Foreigners’s Rules, 1939, compels all owners of hotels, boarding houses, dak bungalows, paying guest hose and any other similar premises, to report the presence of foreigners immediately in the prescribed Form ‘C’.  As enforcement of these rules has never been pursued vigorously, locals with vested interests have little regard for it.  The Foreigners’ (Report to Police) Order, 1971, passed in the wake of the 1971 operation in erstwhile East Pakistan, should be strictly enforced, for an effective control on the movement of foreigners in Goa.

Discriminatory enforcement

Curiously enough, there are a number of cases where Goans of British or Pakistani nationality were asked to go back after three months.  These Goans often come to their village of birth to get married or attend to property matters.  There is the case of a Goan woman who returned to England and now has to return later for a further three months to attend to her work.  On the other hand many foreigners have lived in Goa undisturbed for over ten years.  A case in point is Karl Heinz of Anjuna, a notorious drug peddler wanted by police in West Germany, Pakistan and Canada.

Some other ‘Kings’

Then there is the case of Alan Stein, resident of Dando, Anjna, and an avid Rajneesh follower with an affinity for Parsi women.  Zein, carefree, tall and balding, rides a red Royal Enfield.  Wealthy beyond words, he once financed a local volleyball team and also a local movement to prevent a proposed road passing close to his favourite bungalow.  A Jew by birth, Zein claims, like Nimrad, to hail from aristocracy.  Such claims seem to awe the simple coastal people, inhibited by past and present exploitation.  The passports of these ‘aristocrats’ however identify them as ordinary tradesmen.

Reiner Bock, alias German Jerry, had two houses at Arpora and Gumalvaddo in Anjuna.  On June 15, 1981, two raids conducted simultaneously at Anjuna and the Panjim Post Office prevented him in the nick of time from dispatching valuable antiques abroad.  The antiques valued at Rs. 2,26,975 had been expertly polished, packed and addressed to a Mrs. T. Johnson, 8043, Unferfahvine, Munchen, Fichtenster 2, West Germany.

The German released on bail, fled the country with his wife in 1984, after cheating an Afghan national, Jhani, of about 100 kg of hashish.  It is believed that he dispatched the stolen hashish using his fiberglass boat.  German Jerry as a result, carried a price on his head ordered by Karim Lala, for whom Jhani worked.  Jhani’s companion nowadays is a dismissed Swiss cop called Jean.  He is said to be the chief of his clan in Afghanistan, and is always accompanied by his muscular bodyguard.  A heart patient, he used to ride a grey motorcycle but changed to a moped recently on his doctor’s advice.  He lives in a house at Anjuna, called ‘Jungle Express’ and according to information available, only recently received a large consignment of charas. 

Two more foreigners were identified as having lived in Goa for ten years or more by numerous persons I interviewed.  One is Kenneth Peter of the “Birmingham gang”.  He had a reading library at Anjuna, he managed with the help of his son, and John Miles, also of the Birmingham gang.  Other members of the gang were Daniel Bernard Burr, Charles Anthony Bolger and Paul Sydney Collett.  Arrested in August 1980 for possession of 504 kg of charas, they were permitted in June 1981 to proceed to England for three months, after they declared in court that they had been away for 20 months continuously!  John Miles was last spotted in Goa in July 1985.  Kenneth Peter is presently in Goa and his visa has been extended for another year. A Frenchman, Patrick, lived at Badem, Assagao, for almost ten years, three years of which he spent running his own garage for two-wheelers.

Well dressed dressing table

In the second week of March this year the Mapusa police led by Inspector Joe D’Souza raided ‘Micheal’s Bar & Restaurant’ at Teemier, Anjuna owned and run by two brothers, Elias and Felix Lobo.  The raid yielded 400 gm of brown sugar and 90 gm of charas.  The drugs were concealed in a secret compartment of an ingeniously crafted dressing table.

In the dock

The list of foreigners who were convicted in Goa and fined petty sums reaches a few hundred.  More than 90 per cent of the Territory’s narcotic cases are booked in the Mapusa Court alone.  In this, the efforts by the Excise Station, Mapusa, especially from 1980 to 1982, and more recently the Assistant Public Prosecutor Francisco Tavora are commendable.  These are a few of the major convictions.

# Tozzi Giuseppine, married to a woman from Kerala, lived in Goa for eight years.  She was convicted and fined in July 1985.

# Maurico Sandri and Ferrucio Salvi, were sentenced to six months rigorous imprisonment and fined Rs. 3,000 in November 1984.

# Baha Sheikh Mush, an Iraqi, was convicted and sentenced to six months rigoous imprisonment in October, 1985.

# Nasir Allaudin, Saudi Arabia, fined Rs. 500 in Septmber 1985.

# John Allowing, England, fined Rs. 700 in January 1986.

(Concluded)

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