Dealers only sell drugs to known customers now, and they sell to others after receiving particular signals or tokens, they said
The illegal drug trade continues to run rampant in Tongi, Gazipur despite raids by law enforcement agencies in the area and subsequent arrests.
Locals alleged that there has been no let-up in the illegal business as drug peddlers are turning to new tricks to avoid detection.
Dealers only sell drugs to known customers now, and they sell to others after receiving particular signals or tokens, they said.
Drug dealers and gang leaders include both men and women. In some cases, entire families are involved in drug dealing.
Momela Begum, 40, is among the most-wanted drug dealers in Tongi, according to the local administration.
Although she has been imprisoned on several occasions on charges of drug dealing, she has always walked out of jail on bail and continued her business at the Cooperative Bank Ground Slum.
Locals said Momela has several houses and cars in Tongi, but she lives in the slum. She runs her drug business by maintaining links with influential individuals.
When asked, Momela told Dhaka Tribune that many people of the slum are involved in drug trading, but cases are filed only against her even though she has left the business.
Moyna Begum, 55, is another woman at the slum who has been accused in a number of cases, according to local residents.
She resorts to various tricks to avoid arrest by the law enforcement officials, and has remained out of their reach despite her accomplices being arrested.
Moyna's daughter Nargis is also a listed drug peddler. She is also accused in a number of cases with different police stations, police said.
Nargis has been arrested by police and Rapid Action Battalion (RAB) several times for possession of drugs.
Moyna's son Tajul Islam is also an accused in drug cases.
Shafiqul Islam, Moyna’s brother , is now behind bars after law enforcement officials arrested him for drug smuggling around six months ago in Dhaka's Jatrabari area.
Earlier, Shafiqul was arrested by Cox's Bazar police along with 6,000 yaba tablets. He had been in prison for 26 months before he secured bail six months ago.
"Once I was involved in drug trading," Moyna told this correspondent.
"At least 12 years have passed since I left such a business. No one in my family is involved in drug dealing either," she claimed.
Rani, 40, and her son Rabbani, 25, are also suspected drug dealers in the slum area.
On May 29, Tongi East police apprehended Rabbani along with 20 yaba tablets.
Another suspected drug dealer, Rokon Shikder, 33, of Haji Mazar Slum under Tongi West police station, was killed in a reported gunfight with RAB on May 31.
On April 23, police raided a house in Tongi and arrested Shirin Akter, 29. They recovered phensedyl and cash from her house.
During primary interrogation, Shirin admitted to her involvement in drug dealing.
She and her husband shifted houses four times in the last five months for drug dealing purposes, according to police.
Gazipur Metropolitan Police Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Iltut Mish said police are continuing their drives against the illegal drug trade in Tongi.
Many drug dealers have been arrested and sent to jail by the court several times. Several of them secured bail and left, he said.
"Police are monitoring to see if any of them are getting involved in the business again," the deputy commissioner said.
"Law enforcement officials are not compromising with anyone involved in drug dealing. Legal action is being taken regularly against them," he added.