Drug Trade in Geneva Camp: Six gangs vying for control after Ishtiaq’s death
Ishtiaq Ahmed, the top drug lord of Mohammadpur Geneva Camp, who was hiding for a long period, died in a hospital in India after being infected from Covid-19.
Ishtiaq died in the last week of April of this year. Police's intelligence agency and family sources of Ishtiaq confirmed the death to The Daily Star yesterday.
Born in Mohammadpur Geneva camp, Ishtiaq did odd jobs like collecting discarded bottles from roadsides. In early 2004, he started working as a drug carrier. In the following years, he built his own syndicate, got into transport business and started to carry yaba on trucks. He built an empire -- buying cars, 50 trucks, buses, building eight luxurious buildings, and acquiring over 100 bighas of land in Dhaka's Mohammadpur, Uttara, Aminbazar and Ashulia.
Soon after the death of Ishtiaq, four of his associates and two other drug dealers have taken control of his empire and are controlling drug business in the camp, according to insiders.
Sources said Molla Arshad, Ishtiaq's second-in-command, mostly takes care of the narcotics network has now and started a new gang. Born in Saidpur, Arshad is a childhood friend of Ishtiaq.
Both grew up in the Geneva Camp, a densely-populated settlement of more than 25,000 Urdu-speaking Biharis.
Arshad teamed up with Ishtiaq in 2011. He took charge as second-in-command after the gang's previous top leader Nadim was killed in a "gunfight" with Rapid Action Battalion in July 2018. Arshad was arrested with 60,000 pieces of yaba tablets in March that year but came out on bail in just 21 days.
A high-placed source in law enforcement said Arshad is controlling the gang activity from India, but he sometimes used to visit the country.
Two other associates of Isthiaq's drug syndicate -- Chua Selim and Gaja Sakil -- have also started their own gangs in the camp and started individual businesses, said a source in Geneva camp.
Gal Kata Monu, who was earlier was a salesman of Ishtiaq, has also started his own business after opening a new gang, said the source.
Besides, another drug dealer Kata Jahid, who used to operate drug business in the camp ten to twelve years back, came back after the death of Ishtiaq.
Jahid was kicked out of the camp by Ishtiaq and his gang members, and he used to operate the business from outside the camp since.
Meanwhile, Rani alias Gaja Rani, who earlier only used to sell cannabis in the camp, is also trying to establish her influence in the camp and getting involved in selling yaba following death of Ishtiaq, said a camp source, requesting anonymity.
The Daily Star visited the camp on Monday night and tried to communicate with these people who are now allegedly maintaining the narcotics business in the camp.
But they were not found available. Even camp leaders refused to say anything about the drug gang activities to this newspaper.
Abdul Alim, officer-in-charge (investigation) of Mohammadpur police station, told The Daily Star yesterday that they have heard that Ishtiaq died of Covid-19 in February or March.
Asked about the present narcotics scenario of the camp, Alim said that they are continuing drives in the camp and arresting the people found involved in narcotics trade.
During the visit in the camp, this newspaper found peddlers selling yaba pills in the camp for Tk 250 to Tk 300. Besides yaba, the second popular drug in the camp is cannabis, but drug dealers also sell heroin.