Indian Coast Guard seizes narcotics worth Rs 500 cr

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The Indian Coast Guard (ICG), on Tuesday morning, seized narcotics worth about Rs 400-500 crore from a Pakistani fishing boat off the coast of Jakhau near Kutch. Six crew members of the vessel have also been captured in the anti-smuggling operation.

According to a Defence Ministry statement, the Indian Coast Guard received intelligence inputs from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and other intelligence agencies on Monday evening that a Pakistani fishing boat was waiting near the International Maritime Boundary Line to deliver narcotics to a receiver off Jakhau coast. Accordingly, a patrol ship and two fast interceptor boats of ICG from nearby Coast Guard stations were diverted to intercept the suspect boat.

It was in the morning hours when finally, a Coast Guard ship intercepted the Pakistani fishing boat Al-Madina off Jakhau coast, about eight nautical miles from the International Maritime Boundary. The boat attempted evasive manoeuvres to avoid getting caught. However, the ICG ship chased the foreign boat and succeeded in boarding and taking control of the situation in Indian waters despite rough sea conditions.

Meanwhile crew discarded bags containing suspicious material in the sea. However, the Coast Guard ship’s boarding party took the Pakistani crew into its custody and managed to retrieve seven bags from the water. On inspecting the boat, 194 packets of suspicious substances, suspected to be narcotics, were recovered which will be further verified by appropriate agencies through chemical analysis, said a statement.

“Preliminary testing of one of the packets by a drug detection kit revealed the material to be likely narcotics. The approximate cost of seized narcotics is Rs 400-500 crore which will depend proportionately on purity of the narcotics which will be tested later,” said the statement.

The inspection of the boat is in progress. The Pakistani boat will be taken either to Jakhau or another Coast Guard station for further interrogation of the crew by other law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The boat is believed to have left from Karachi harbour.

Earlier in March this year, 100kg of heroine was seized in a joint operation by the Indian Coast Guard with Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS), Ahmedabad, based on a tip-off. This is the second incident this year, in which the ICG has seized such a large quantity of narcotics off the coast of Gujarat.
Karachi Connection
The Pakistani boat will be taken either to Jakhau or another Coast Guard station for further interrogation of the crew by other law enforcement and intelligence agencies. The boat is believed to have left from Karachi harbour.

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