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Friday, September 22, 2023

Mid-Sea Drug Bust: DRI and ICG Interdict 218 kg Heroin Worth Rs 1526 Crore

The drugs were seized in a joint operation codenamed operation "Khojbeen"

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Raju Vernekar
Raju Vernekar
Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

INDIA. MUMBAI: According to a press release issued by the ICG on Friday, The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) seized 218 kg of high-grade heroin worth Rs 1526 crore in the international illicit market in a joint operation off the coast of Agatti in Lakshadweep (Union Territory) on Wednesday.

They seized packets of heroin. (Photo credit: ICG)

The contraband was seized from two boats, ‘Prince’ and ‘Little Jesus,’ after several days of continuous search and monitoring in very rough seas.

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Both boats were escorted to Kochi (Kerala) and thoroughly searched at the ICG District Headquarters in Kochi, where 218 packets of heroin weighing 1 kg each were discovered. When questioned, crew members on both boats admitted receiving large amounts of heroin on the high seas and concealing it in both boats.

According to an official statement, the DRI launched an operation after gathering specific intelligence over several months that two Indian boats would be sailing from the coast of Tamil Nadu and receiving narcotics in large quantities somewhere in the Arabian Sea during the second/third week of May. Based on these inputs, the DRI and the ICG launched a joint operation in May 2007. The ICG ship “Sujeet,” with DRI officials on board, kept a close watch near India’s Exclusive Economic Zone during the operation (EEZ).

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The DRI is currently conducting proceedings under the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) Act of 1985. According to the statement, additional searches are being conducted at various locations, and further investigation is underway.

This was the DRI’s fourth major drug bust in the last month. Previously, the DRI recovered 205.6 kg of heroin from a commercial import consignment of gypsum powder at Kandla port (Gujarat) on April 20, 396 kg of yarn (laced with heroin) at Pipapav port (District Amreli, Gujarat) on April 29, and 62 kg heroin at Air Cargo Complex, IGI Airport in New Delhi on May 10.

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The ICG and DRI have conducted significant anti-drug trafficking operations in recent years. The joint operation against transnational drug trafficking networks successfully prevented narcotics from entering the country via maritime routes.

The DRI seized over 3800 kg of heroin worth Rs 26,000 crore in the international illicit market. Furthermore, the DRI seized over 350 kilograms of cocaine worth approximately Rs 3500 crore, including a 303 kg haul from a container at Tuticorin Port (Tamil Nadu) in April 2021. In the last three years, the ICG recovered over 3 MT of narcotics worth nearly Rs 6200 crore, bringing total drug seizures to Rs 12,206.

Notable cases include the recent arrests of Sri Lankan boats Shenaya Duwa and Ravihansi, both of which were found with drugs and weapons, including an AK-47 and pistols, and Iranian boat Jumma Pakistani boats Al Huseni and Al-Haj.

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  • Raju Vernekar

    Raju Vermekar is a senior Mumbai-based journalist who have worked with many daily newspapers. Raju contributes on versatile topics.

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