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How Pakistan uses Sri Lankan vessels to smuggle drugs, arms through Indian waters

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New Delhi, Apr 01: The interception of a Sri Lankan board with 300 kilograms of heroin and a huge quantity of arms and ammunition off the coast of Vizhinjam, Kerala is a reminder of how grave the situation is.

How Pakistan uses Sri Lankan vessels to smuggle drugs, arms through Indian waters

Acting on specific intelligence the Indian Coast Guard and Narcotics Control Bureau intercepted the Sri Lankan vessel and seized 300.323 kg of Heroin along with five AK-47 Rifles and 1,000 rounds of 9mm ammunitions. The intelligence also suggested that a Pakistan based drug trafficking network was involved in this incident.

Sri Lankan boat associated with Pak drug network intercepted off Kerala coast with 300 kg heroin, armsSri Lankan boat associated with Pak drug network intercepted off Kerala coast with 300 kg heroin, arms

In November last year, a Sri Lankan boat with 100 kilograms of heroin was seized. The seizure was made south of Thoothukudi during an operation, which began on November 17 2020. The drugs were meant to be sent to western countries from Sri Lanka. The drugs were transferred onto the Sri Lankan vessel by a Pakistani dhow from Karachi. The Indian Coast Guard found 99 packets of heroin of 100 kilograms, 20 boxes of synthetic drugs, a Thuraya set and five 9 mm pistols.

In 2017, a probe by the Coast Guard into the massive drug haul of Rs 1,500 kg of heroin off the Gujarat coast pointed to the involvement of Pakistani nationals in sending the shipment from the Chinese controlled Gwadar ports. The probe suggested that the narcotics were embarked off the Gwadar Port in Pakistan and the same was proceeding towards the UAE. The port was built by the Chinese and is controlled as well as operated by Beijing for both merchant and military seafaring.

In July 2020, a high alert was sounded following inputs from the international agencies about a rise in smuggling activities originating from the Gwadar Port. India received inputs from the Tanzanian authorities who said that heroin consignments were being smuggled and dropped off at Tanzanian ports.

Officials say that Pakistan is known to provide a safe haven for smuggling narcotics through land routes in Balochistan and trans-shipment from its Gwadar Port.

In the most recent case, the intelligence inputs and the investigations so far indicate that a Pakistan based drug trafficking network is involved in the current seizure. There have been seizures of huge quantity heroin in the Arabian Sea by both Indian as well as other enforcement agencies which are believed to have trafficked by the same network. This seizure also unveils the nexus between narcotics trafficking and extremist elements, officials say.

The heroin was found concealed inside the water tank of the vessel in 301 packets. Image of a flying horse was found on all the heroin packets, which is a usual practise of drug trafficking syndicates to brand their drugs. Further, investigations so far indicate that an unknown vessel carried the Heroin and arms consignment from Chabahar Port, Iran and handed over the same to Sri Lankan fishing boat Ravihansi in the high seas near Lakshadweep. Ravihansi was then trafficking the consignment to Sri Lanka when the Indian authorities intercepted it.

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