Man suspected of killing dozens of truck drivers arrested in India

Indian police have arrested a 48-year-old man who they allege has confessed to killing 33 truck drivers and their helpers over the past decade, then selling the vehicles and the goods they were carrying.

Suspect said he befriended drivers in roadside eateries and slipped drugs into their food, police allege

Indian security forces stand guard in Jammu, India, on Aug. 4. Police in Madhya Pradesh allege a man they arrested two weeks ago has admitted to killing more than 30 people. (Channi Anand/Associated Press)

Indian police have arrested a 48-year-old man who they allege has confessed to killing 33 truck drivers and their helpers over the past decade, then selling the vehicles and the goods they were carrying.

The man was arrested two weeks ago near the central town of Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh state, police officer Rahul Kumar Lodha said Wednesday.

Police stumbled across the man's name as they investigated a string of recent murders of truck drivers in Madhya Pradesh. While the man was apparently not connected to those killings, some of the men police arrested in that case said they had helped him to commit similar robberies.

The man told police he would befriend drivers in roadside eateries and slip drugs into their food so they would fall asleep, Lodha said. He would then drive their trucks to isolated areas, strangle them and their helpers, and dump the bodies in forests.

He and his accomplices would sell the trucks and their goods, Lodha said.

Indian drivers often travel with assistants who help clean their trucks, change tires and other chores.

Dharmendra Choudhary, another police officer in Madhya Pradesh state, said the suspect was arrested in western Maharashtra state some years ago in connection with similar robberies, but was freed on bail and fled.

Between robberies, he worked as a tailor in a small shop in Mandideep, a village on the outskirts of Bhopal.