Amazon Executives Have Been Charged as Part of a $148,000 Marijuana Smuggling Investigation, Police In India Said Roughly $148,000 worth of marijuana was disguised as sweetener and smuggled via Amazon, police said.
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Indian police said on Saturday they had charged senior executives of Amazon's local unit under narcotics laws in a case of alleged marijuana smuggling via the online retailer.
However, Amazon said Monday that reports of the charges were "incorrect" and "we are not aware of any Amazon executives being named in the investigation."
Police in the central Madhya Pradesh state arrested two men with 20 kilograms of marijuana on November 14 and found they were using the Amazon India website to order and further smuggle the substance in the guise of stevia leaves, a natural sweetener, to other Indian states.
The police, who said they had previously summoned and spoken to Amazon executives in the case, estimate that about 1,000 kg of marijuana, worth roughly $148,000, was sold via Amazon.
State police said in a statement that executive directors of Amazon India were being named as accused under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act due to differences in answers in documents provided by the company in response to police questions and facts unearthed by discussion.
Police did not disclose how many executives were charged.
A spokesperson for Amazon said: "Reports that Amazon executives have been arrested or charged as part of this case are incorrect and we are not aware of any Amazon executives being named in the investigation. On the contrary, Amazon continues to assist with the investigation."
They continued: "Amazon, as a matter of company policy, extends full cooperation to law enforcement agencies in the event of any bad actor operating on the Amazon.in marketplace. We have shared, and will continue to share information that law enforcement needs in their investigation of this case."
The spokesperson added: "Amazon has zero-tolerance for misconduct and takes strict action against individuals or third-parties for violation of our policies or applicable laws. Amazon.in is a third-party marketplace (intermediary) where sellers offer their products to customers directly. Contractually, sellers operating on the Amazon.in marketplace, as well as delivery partners, service providers and their associates, are required to comply with all applicable laws."
Indian authorities have in recent years intensified their efforts to crack down on illicit drugs. Many high-profile Indian actors and TV personalities have been under scrutiny from narcotics officials since last year.
Note: This article was updated on November 22, 2021 to include Amazon's response to Reuters' reporting of the police charges.