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By Our Correspondent

Mumbai , 10 Jan, 2017 :: The anti-narcotics cell of the Thane crime branch on Friday busted a factory in Ambernath where alprazolam, an anti-anxiety drug available under the trade name Xanax, was being manufactured illegally. The bust, which came after the arrest of two suspected drug pushers, led to the seizure of 10kg of the prescription drug, which was being peddled as a hallucinatory narcotic for "recreational" purposes apart from as a "fix" for addicts, said the police.

On Friday, the anti-narcotics police were tipped off that the two men, who have been identified as Amit Godbole (32) and Lavkush Gupta (26), would be making a deal near Thane station later that night to sell a 'white powder' valued at Rs 2,50,000 for a kg.

Acting on the information, cops arrested the two men, and found that they had 6kg of alprazolam in their possession.

Their interrogation revealed that the drug was being produced locally. It didn't take the sleuths more than a few hours to uncover the production plant - the Ambernath factory, which was raided on Saturday, leading to the recovery of another 4kg of the drug.

Also seized in the raid were several ingredients for the chemical cocktail and other paraphernalia for manufacturing it, sources claimed.

Godbole and Gupta were working as distributors of the drug, sources privy to the investigation said.

Alprazolam, proven to be a potent psychoactive stimulant, is dangerous if consumed in large quantities without medical supervision as it tampers with nerve signals.

Senior police officer Hemant Shinde confirmed to Mirror the details of the drug bust. "We are still investigating the case. Some arrests are yet to be made. More details will be shared when possible," Shinde said.

On Saturday, a first information report was registered at the Thane Nagar police station under the Narcotics Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act against Godbole and Gupta for possessing and selling a narcotic drug without licence.

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