In a joint operation by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the Indian Navy, the agencies have seized over 760 kg narcotics, including hashish, methamphetamine and heroin, worth about Rs 2,000 crore in the international market, from the high seas off Gujarat coast.
Considered as a first-of-its-kind operation conducted jointly in the high seas, the drug cargo was seized from a ghost boat floating without any crew.
“In a joint operation carefully planned by the NCB and the Indian Navy in the high seas, NCB officials have successfully seized around 529 kg of very high quality of hashish, 234 kg of finest quality of crystal methamphetamine and some quantity of heroin,” the anti-drug agency said in a release.
According to sources, the vessel carrying the cargo was tracked in the high seas beyond India’s exclusive economic zone (EEZ) in the Arabian Sea, off the Gujarat coast.
According to the NCB, this is the first such operation in which the apprehension has been made in high seas.””
The official said that the NCB had received inputs about the trafficking of drugs in the high seas, and shared it with the Naval Intelligence Unit, leading to the joint operation and successful catch of the consignment.
“Special units of NCB headquarters have been continuously working on various such intelligence inputs and it will be our endeavour to carry out more such operations in collaboration with Naval forces,” the NCB said.
The agency official claimed that the seizure has dealt a telling blow to drug syndicates based out of the neighbouring country and using the maritime route for the proliferation of drugs in India and other countries.
The consignment, packed in multiple bags recovered from the ghost boat has been brought to Porbandar in Gujarat.
Sharing details about the special operation, the officials said that the smugglers abandoned the vessel as soon as they realised that the Navy was chasing them.
According to officials, the smugglers apparently abandoned the vessel and boarded another boat to flee from the area. The vessel was found almost 200 miles from the coast and outside India’s EEZ.