Police say dealers stockpiling ecstasy for New Year

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The Independent Online

Drug dealers are stockpiling huge quantities of ecstasy and other illegal substances to be sold at parties during the millennium celebrations, the National Criminal Intelligence Service warned yesterday.

Drug dealers are stockpiling huge quantities of ecstasy and other illegal substances to be sold at parties during the millennium celebrations, the National Criminal Intelligence Service warned yesterday.

In the past two-and-a-half months, customs officers have seized more ecstasy than in the whole of the last year. Some of the tablets confiscated have been stamped with a millennium "M" logo or the figure 2000 as a marketing gimmick.

NCIS officials are also concerned that dealers are planning to flood the market with large quantities of amphetamines, or speed, and a legal but potentially dangerous synthetic substance known as GHB.

Nick Wilson, head of the NCIS drug section, said: "As well as the marked rise in seizures, we have recently noticed a marked increase in the movement of the precursor chemicals needed to manufacture these synthetic drugs.

"The festive seasonhas created an unprecedented demand for dangerous drugs, a demand that organised crime is only too happy to meet. We are particularly concerned that with all the hype surrounding the millennium celebrations and the higher than usual drug availability, young and impressionable party-goers might be tempted to indulge in these drugs for the first time."

So far this year, Customs and Excise has seized 886kg of ecstasy - with 325kg since October - compared with 250kg for 1998. Most of it is being seized at Dover as dealers try to bring it in from the Netherlands.

NCIS is also concerned about the GHB (Gammahydroxybutyrate), also known as liquid ecstasy and GBH. Abottle costing £10, which provides about three doses, is legal to buy and possess but illegal to sell. It has been used to sedate women during rapes but is sold as a recreational drug.

The police warned that it can produce violent reactions if taken in large quantities or mixed with other drugs.

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