New Delhi: The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) interdicted 218 kg of heroin in a mid-sea drug bust off the coast of Lakshadweep Islands on May 18, 2022, the Ministries of Defence, as well as Finance, stated here today.
The seized drug is said to be high-grade heroin and its value in the international illicit market is estimated to be around Rs. 1,526 crore.
This is the fourth major drug bust by DRI in the past one month. Earlier, DRI recovered 205.6 kg of heroin from a commercial import consignment of gypsum powder at the Kandla port on 20.04.2022, 396 kg of thread (laced with heroin) at Pipavav port on 29.04.2022, and 62 kg of heroin at Air Cargo Complex, IGI New Delhi on 10.05.2022, totally valued at approximately Rs. 2500 crores in the international illicit market.
The operation was meticulously planned and executed by DRI and ICG and entailed extensive surveillance on the rough seas over a period of several days.
Offering details, the DRI said it launched an operation following specific intelligence over a period of several months that two Indian boats would be sailing from the coast of Tamil Nadu and would receive narcotics in huge quantities somewhere in the Arabian sea, during the second or third week of May 2022. Accordingly, a joint operation of DRI with the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) codenamed ‘Operation Khojbeen‘ was launched on May 7, 2022. Under the operation, Coast Guard ship Sujeet, with DRI officials onboard, maintained a close watch near the Exclusive Economic Zone. After several days of continuous search and monitoring amidst very rough seas, two suspected boats “Prince” and “Little Jesus” were noticed moving towards India. Both the Indian boats were intercepted by officers of ICG and DRI on May 18, 2022, off the coast of the Lakshadweep Islands. On questioning, some of the crew members in the said boats confessed that they had received heroin in huge quantity on the high sea and that they had concealed it in both the boats. In view thereof, both the boats were escorted to Kochi for further proceedings.
A thorough search of both the boats was carried out at the Coast Guard District Headquarters at Kochi, which resulted in heroin recovery of 218 packets of 1 kg each. The seizure proceedings under the provisions of the NDPS Act, 1985 are currently being undertaken by the DRI. Follow up searches are taking place at various locations and further investigation is in progress.
In the recent past, ICG and DRI have undertaken some significant anti-drug trafficking operations.
Since April 2021, DRI has seized more than 3,800 kg of heroin valued at approximately Rs. 26,000 crore in the international illicit market, including seizure of 3,000 kg heroin at Mundra in September 2021; 293 kg heroin at Nhava Sheva Port in July 2021; 34 kg heroin at Tughlaquabad, New Delhi, in February 2022, apart from the multiple seizures of heroin from air passengers. In addition, more than 350 kg of cocaine valued at approximately Rs. 3,500 crore in the international illicit market was seized by the DRI during this period, including the largest haul of 303 kg of cocaine from a container at Tuticorin port in April 2021.
ICG on the other hand has recovered about 3 tons of narcotics worth approx. Rs. 6,200 crore in different operations in the past 3 years bringing the total drug haul to date to Rs. 12,206 crore. The notable cases include the apprehension of Sri Lankan boat Shenaya Duwa and Ravihansi, both of which were apprehended with drugs and arms such as AK-47 and pistols, Iranian boat Jumma, Pakistan boat Al Huseni and Al-Haj recently.
– global bihari news