The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has seized 120 kg of heroin worth ₹ 600 crore from Zinzuda village in Morbi district and arrested three people, who reportedly received the consignment via sea route from Pakistan.
The three arrested are Mukhtar Hussein alias Jabbar Jodiya, Shamsuddin Hussein Saiyyed and Ghulam Hussein Umar Bhagad. The ATS carried out the operation along with the local police.
“Preliminary investigation revealed that the consignment was brought by Mukhtar Hussein and Ghulam Bhagad after receiving the delivery from a Pakistani boat,” the ATS stated in a release. “This drug consignment was sent by Zahid Bashir Baloch, a resident of Pakistan, who is absconding in an earlier case pertaining to the seizure of 227 kg of heroin in 2019.”
ATS officials contended that it had been ascertained that Isa Rav, brother of Mukhtar Hussein alias Jabbar Jodiya s/o Haji Nurmuhammad Rav, was in contact with Zahid Bashir Baloch and had coordinated for the delivery of the drugs.
This contraband was reportedly delivered in October last week and it was initially hidden in the coastal region near Salaya in Devbhumi Dwarka district. It was subsequently moved to the location near the Dargah of Kotawala Pir in Jinjuda village of Maliya- Miyana in Morbi district.
According to the ATS officials, as in most of the past cases, where the conspiracies of drug smuggling have been hatched in West Asia, the conspiracy in this case was also hatched in the Somali Canteen of the United Arab Emirates.
This consignment of heroin was to be handed over to the Indian smugglers to be transported to an African country.
Delivery at IMBL
According to Gujarat DGP Ashish Bhatia, the most common modus operandi of the Pakistani and Iranian heroin smugglers was to deliver heroin to their Indian counterparts at the notional Indo-Pak International Maritime Boundary Line,l (IMBL) and then it is supposed to be brought to the coast and further transported to the final destination.
In a media briefing, ATS DIG Himanshu Shukla said the agency seized drugs worth ₹ 1,320 crore in the last one year alone. Drugs were entering India from countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan.
This is the second major drug seizure in Gujarat in the last two months. In September, almost 3,000 kg heroin worth ₹ 20,000 crore was seized by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence from a port in Kutch. The case has been handed over to the National Investigation Agency since the drug consignment had originated from Afghanistan.
Gujarat coast a preferred route
In the last few years, the Gujarat coast has become a preferred route for smuggling of drugs from Pakistan, Afghanistan or Iran.
In April last, eight Pakistani nationals onboard a boat were apprehended with heroin worth around ₹150 crore off the Gujarat coast in the Arabian Sea.
In January last year, five Pakistani nationals onboard a fishing boat were apprehended mid-sea off the Gujarat coast while they were allegedly trying to smuggle drugs worth ₹175 crore into the State.
As many as 35 packets of heroin, each weighing one kg, were seized from the five men near Jakhau coast in Kutch district.
In July 2017, in one of the biggest drugs haul, the Indian Coast Guard seized 1,500 kg of heroin valued at ₹3,500 crore from a merchant vessel off the Gujarat coast.