NCB, Navy seize over 760 kg drugs worth about Rs 2,000 cr from high seas off Gujarat coast
New Delhi/Ahmedabad, Feb 13: The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) on Saturday said it had seized about 800 kg of drugs, with a street value of about Rs 2,000 crore, from a vessel in the Arabian Sea off the Gujarat coast in a joint operation with the Navy, the largest such haul.
The seizure includes over 529 kg of "very high-quality hashish (charas)", more than 234 kg of the "finest quality of crystal methamphetamine" and about 15 kgs of heroin. While the drugs are suspected to have been loaded from Pakistan, the NCB is investigating its delivery contacts. The seized narcotics, packed in large jute bags, have been brought to the Porbandar port in Gujarat and the agency is conducting further formalities and probe, he added.
The unprecedented and first-of-its kind seizure of almost 800 kgs of contraband drugs came about after a four-day operation that the agency conducted in collaboration with the Navy in the high seas, NCB director general (DG) S N Pradhan told PTI.
The NCB team was stationed for all the four days on a Navy ship that patrols India's maritime borders. Official sources said the contraband was seized from the "edge of the territorial waters of India" and the drugs consignment was retrieved from a vessel that was sinking as few boats and people accompanying it abandoned the drugs-laden boat after seeing the approaching Indian team comprising Naval commandos.
The NCB said in a statement said that the "input regarding trafficking of drugs in high seas was developed by NCB and shared with Naval intelligence unit, leading to a joint operation." "I can tell you that this joint action by the Indian agencies and the NCB will continue. The NCB is committed to fighting for a drug-free India," DG Pradhan said.
The estimated value of the seized drugs is Rs 2,000 crore, the NCB statement said. In September last year, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had seized 2,988.2 kg of heroin at Mundra port in Gujarat's Kutch district.
The drugs were allegedly sent from Afghanistan via Bandar-Abbas, Iran, concealed with talcum powder and imported in the name of a company in India.
Anti-narcotics experts say that for the last 2-3 years India is witnessing that the maritime route is being preferred by international traffickers to push drugs into the country for use within or for transit, with almost 60-70 percent of the total drugs being sent via the sea.
"The present seizure has dealt a telling blow to drug syndicates based out of our neighbouring country and using the maritime route for the proliferation of drugs in India and other countries," the federal anti-narcotics agency added.
The Navy tweeted a picture of the officials along with the seized contraband saying "In a well-coordinated multi-agency operation at sea, the Narcotics Control Bureau #NCB, with the active support of #IndianNavy, successfully seized 800 kgs of #narcotics substances. Catch is estimated worth Rs 2,000 cr. #IndianNavy remains committed to tackling the scourge of narcotics proliferation."