Investigations into the 232kg heroin caught from a Pakistani boat seized by a Coast Guard team off Porbandar in Arabian Sea on April 20 have revealed the drugs were loaded onto the boat at a spot called ‘Khai Khuddi’. The boat, with eight Pakistani nationals, sailed for at least two-and-a-half hours to reach the spot, which lies in a mangrove patch.
Heroin worth Rs 6.96 crore packed into 11 blue drums was waiting on another boat at the spot. It was occupied by two men identified as Iqbal Jaffar and Shaukat, who loaded the consignment onto the boat that was later seized.
When the drug-laden boat reached the international coastal border in the north-west of Gujarat, it was spotted on the Coast Guard radar around 3.10am. Soon after, Sangram, the Coast Guard patrol vessel, reached out to the boat, which was suspiciously anchored and didn’t have any country’s flag or registration number on it.
“Since it was dark, the security vessel surveyed the boat till dawn and intercepted it around 7am. The occupants claimed they are labourers and were promised Rs50,000 each (in Pakistani currency) for the deep sea sortie and loading the drums on another boat, headed to Dubai,” said an officer.
While the Mumbai police and the crime branch are investigating the Indian link in the smuggling incident, the arrested eight Pakistani nationals claim the consignment was headed to Dubai.
Those arrested have been identified as Maqsood Yusuf Masi, 39, who was heading the group. Others include Alibaksh Khashkeli, 30, Mohammad Baksh Natho, 38, Mohammad Ahmed Inayat, 28, Mohammad Yusuf Abdullah Gagwani, 45, Mohammad Yonus Sumar, 35, Mohammad Gulhassan Baluch, 30 and Gulhassan Siddique, 40.
“The group was given a number of another person who was to take custody of the consignment. Masi was asked to keep in touch with the person and update him about their location every four hours,” said the officer.
Along with electronic gadgets, the Coast Guard also seized some Pakistani currency, fake ID cards, three Thuraya satellite phones, 12 GPS devices, an electronic navigation chart, and a SIM card for the satellite phone. All accused have been remanded in police custody till Tuesday.