NEW DELHI: The
Indian Coast Guard
(ICG) has seized a huge quantity of
, including 100 kg of
that originated from
, from a Sri Lankan boat on the high seas south of
(Tuticorin) off the Tamil Nadu coast in a major anti-smuggling operation that lasted for nine days.
Coast Guard officials on Wednesday said patrol vessel ICGS Vaibhav intercepted the Sri Lankan boat “Shenaya Duwa” and apprehended the six crew members, along with 100 kg of heroin in 99 packets, 20 small packets of a synthetic drug, five 9mm pistols and a
satellite phone on Tuesday evening.
“In initial interrogation, the six detained Sri Lankan nationals disclosed that the drugs were transferred to their vessel by a Pakistani dhow plying from Karachi. Joint interrogation of the crew by all security and intelligence agencies, including by the
Narcotics Control Bureau
, will be conducted after Shenaya Duwa reaches Thoothukudi,” said an official.
The drugs, which were hidden in an empty fuel tank on the boat owned by a person residing at Negombo in Sri Lanka, were meant for Australia and other western countries. The incident once again underlines the Indian security establishment assessment that the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence has a deep ongoing nexus with smugglers to finance cross-border terrorism.
The ICG launched the anti-smuggling operation on November 17 after getting “credible” intelligence information about contraband that was going to be smuggled into India through the sea-route.
Despite rough weather conditions, the ICG deployed five patrol vessels, Vaibhav, Vikram, Samar, Abhivav and Aadesh, as well as two Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft in a coordinated air-sea operation to hunt for the boat.
“Finally, it was spotted on Tuesday. ICGS Vaibhav stealthily followed the boat and then carried out interception and boarding at the opportune moment at about 10 nautical miles off Kanyakumari in the evening,” said an official.
“In the past two years, anti-national elements involved in narcotics smuggling are trying to infiltrate drugs through the Indian coast. India has also been coordinating with countries like Sri Lanka, Maldives and Seychelles to curb the menace of drug trafficking,” he added.