9 Pakistani nationals arrested while trying to smuggle over 250 kg heroin off Gujarat coast

Operation was carried out jointly by Gujarat ATS and Coast Guard

April 25, 2022 11:05 am | Updated 02:58 pm IST - Ahmedabad

A file photo of Indian Coast Guard personnel inspecting a Pakistani boat at Jakhau Port in the Arabian sea in Kutch, Gujarat.

A file photo of Indian Coast Guard personnel inspecting a Pakistani boat at Jakhau Port in the Arabian sea in Kutch, Gujarat. | Photo Credit: PTI

Nine Pakistani nationals have been apprehended while trying to smuggle more than 250 kg of heroin worth ₹280 crore into India off the Gujarat coast, officials said on Monday.

The operation was jointly carried out by Gujarat’s ATS (Anti-Terrorism Squad)and the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).

Coast Guard ships intercepted and apprehended Pakistani boat Al Haj when it ventured into the Indian waters, a defence spokesperson said in a statement.

Second in recent weeks

This is the second instance of a major drug seizure by the Indian agencies off the Gujarat coast. Last week, heroin worth ₹1,500 crore was recovered by the ATS and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence from a container at the Kandla port in Kutch.

As per the details shared by ICG officials, Al Haj entered the Indian waters late on Sunday night. With advanced intelligence, an ICG boat with two ATS operatives intercepted the vessel that attempted to return to Pakistan, throwing away narcotics packets in water, which were recovered by the agencies. The ICG boat began a hot pursuit of the Pakistani boat and fired at it to prevent its escape.

Preferred route

In recent years, the Gujarat coast has become a preferred route of smuggling high-quality heroin meant for domestic consumption as well as for smuggling into other international markets.

In February last, in a joint operation by the Narcotics Control Bureau and the Indian Navy, around 750 kg of drugs was seized from a ship off the Gujarat coast. In September last, in the country’s biggest drug haul, three tonnes of drugs worth ₹21,000 crore was confiscated from containers from the Mundra port. The consignment had originated from Afghanistan.

After the seizure, the probe was handed over to the National Investigation Agency to look at terror financing through drug smuggling.

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