Kochi (Kerala) [India], May 20 (ANI): Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) recovered 218 packets of 1 kg each of heroin from two Indian boats that were sailing in the Arabian sea, said the Ministry of Defence on Friday.
The seized drug appears to be high-grade heroin and its value in the international illicit market is estimated to be over Rs. 1,526 Crore, said a press release by the Ministry of Defence.
An operation was launched by DRI after it developed specific intelligence over a period of several months that two Indian boats would be sailing from the coast of Tamil Nadu and would receive narcotics in huge quantities somewhere in the Arabian sea, during the second/third week of May 2022, as per the statement.
Accordingly, a joint operation of DRI with the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) codenamed Operation Khojbeen was launched on May 7, 2022.
Under the said operation, Coast Guard ship Sujeet, with DRI officials onboard, maintained a close watch near the Exclusive Economic Zone.
After several days of continuous search and monitoring amidst very rough seas, two suspected boats "Prince" and "Little Jesus" were noticed moving towards India. Both the Indian boats were intercepted by officers of ICG and DRI on May 18, 2022, off the coast of the Lakshadweep Islands.
On questioning, some of the crew members in the said boats confessed that they had received heroin in huge quantity on the high sea and that they had concealed it in both the boats. In view thereof, both the boats were escorted to Kochi for further proceedings.
The seizure proceedings under the provisions of the NDPS Act,1985 are currently being undertaken by the DRI. Follow up searches are taking place at various locations and further investigation is in progress.
In the recent past, ICG and DRI have undertaken some significant anti-drug trafficking operations.
This is the fourth major drug bust by DRI in the past month. Earlier, DRI recovered 205.6 kg of heroin from a commercial import consignment of gypsum powder at the Kandla port on April 20, 2022, 396 kg of thread (laced with heroin) at Pipavav port on April 29, 2022, and 62 kg of heroin at Air Cargo Complex, IGI New Delhi on May 10, 20222, totally valued at approximately Rs. 2500 crores in the international illicit market.
Since April 2021, DRI has seized more than 3,800 kg of heroin valued at approximately Rs. 26,000 crores in the international illicit market, including seizure of 3000 kg Heroin at Mundra in September 2021, 293 kg Heroin at Nhava Sheva Port in July 2021, 34 kg Heroin at Tughlaquabad, New Delhi in February 2022, apart from the multiple seizures of Heroin from air passengers. In addition, more than 350 kg of cocaine valued at approximately Rs. 3,500 crores in the international illicit market were seized by the DRI during this period, including the largest haul of 303 kg of Cocaine from a container at Tuticorin port in April 2021. (ANI)