In what is claimed to be the biggest ever drug seizure in terms of monetary value by any anti-drug enforcement agency in the country, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the Indian Navy, in a joint operation, have seized around 2,500 kg of methamphetamine valued around ₹15,000 crore and originated from Pakistan from the Indian waters.
It is also the first interception of a mother ship carrying drugs by an Indian agency and a man suspected of Pakistani origin has been detained from the ship. The seizure is part of Operation Samudragupt targeting maritime trafficking of drugs aimed at making the Indian Ocean region free of narcotics.
“The operation has been initiated by inputs from sources developed by the Naval Intelligence and the NCB. As the assessment is still under way, the actual volume of drugs could be even more,” Sanjay Kumar Singh, Deputy Director General (Operations), NCB, told a press conference here on Saturday.
The drugs had its origin in Pakistan and was loaded to the mother ship from the Makran coast. The continuous intelligence collection and analysis resulted in the identification of a highly probable route that the mother ship would take for the distribution of the contraband. Accordingly, an Indian Naval ship was deployed in the region leading to the interception of the ship.
Officials have seized 134 sacks of suspected methamphetamine. The sacks had Pakistani inscriptions. The drugs, the detained person, and other items salvaged from the ship have been brought to the Mattancherry wharf here and handed over to the NCB for further action.
“The modus operandi is to halt the mother ship at a particular point at which the crew in the ship receives a message about the boat to which the drug is to be offloaded and its timing. Since, the mother ship itself has been intercepted, there is no information on any boat or person supposed to take delivery of it. The consignment has been meant for India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. More arrests in the case are likely,” said Mr. Singh
Enforcement agencies involved in controlling drug trafficking have dubbed the region covering Afghanistan, Pakistan and India as the Death Crescent in terms of drug trafficking.
Since the inception of Operation Samudragupt in January 2022, enforcement agencies have so far seized 3,200 kg of methamphetamine, 500 kg of heroin, and 529 kg of hashish. This is the third major seizure of drugs along the southern coast in the last year-and-a-half. This includes the interception of an Iranian boat with 200 kg of high-grade heroin off the Kerala coast by the NCB and the Indian Navy in October last year.