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Drug peddlers eye 2023 Hockey World Cup in Odisha

Bhubaneswar: Smugglers are testing the potential of Odisha’s black market to sell drugs, eyeing the 2023 Men’s Hockey World Cup in the state, a senior police officer said on Saturday.

Special Task Force (STF) DIG JN Pankaj said that after the preliminary interrogation of the two suspected drug peddlers nabbed earlier this week, it was found that they were planning to smuggle drugs to foreigners during the Hockey World Cup.

The two peddlers, natives of Rajasthan, were nabbed on Tuesday with 202 grams of cocaine from Xavier Square here.

The Hockey World Cup will be played in Bhubaneswar and Rourkela in January next year.

The prime suspect used to sell cocaine in different parts of Delhi where he had started a travel agency during the 2010 Commonwealth Games, police said.

He got into peddling cocaine during the Commonwealth Games and his fluency in English helped him in reaching out to a wealthy clientele, including foreigners, they said.

Sensing an opportunity in Odisha where thousands of foreigners will be coming to attend the international sporting event, he started testing the market here along with an associate, police said.

The duo had planned to get in touch with the visitors, identifying themselves as travel agents. They even started staying in Salia Sahi slum in the city, which has a slew of upscale hotels in its vicinity, police said

Police said they hoped more information can be extracted from the duo about their operations to identify other members of the racket.

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