Punjab: Intelligence-based ops led to seizure of over 200kg heroin in 40 days
Punjab Police senior official said this has happened due to a change in strategy wherein the law enforcement agencies have decided to go after the big fish involved in the drug smuggling operations
Intelligence-based operations conducted by the internal security wing of Punjab Police have led to a record seizure of drugs, around 200 kg of heroin, in different operations in the past 40 days. Most of these recoveries have been done by the State Special Operation Cell (SSOC) wing of Internal Security at Fazilka. A specialised police wing usually deals with cases related to internal security and terror but lately has been roped in to act on various intelligence inputs and curtail widespread drug smuggling across the international border with Pakistan.
Punjab Police senior official said this has happened due to a change in strategy wherein the law enforcement agencies have decided to go after the big fish involved in the drug smuggling operations.
“A special list of smugglers from Pakistan and India has been prepared by the state police, intelligence agencies and special task force (STF) against drugs. Teams have been deployed to analyse their activities. The operations in the past 40 days were all based on analysis done by our teams that have worked at the grassroots to pinpoint the smugglers. Technical assistance, using all means available with us, helped us in a big way to nab big fish,” a senior official involved in these operations, who didn’t wish to be named, said.
Biggest catch this year
On August 7, The Punjab Police recovered 77.8kg of heroin, in one of the largest seizures of the opioid drug this year, as they busted two cross-border drug trafficking rackets in the past 24 hours, with the arrest of four smugglers. The subsequent probe has found that the accused went to Pakistan to bring the consignment via Sutlej which enters Pakistan and then re-enters India at several places along the international border, an official said.
“All four accused crossed over to Pakistan when Sutlej was in spate. They stayed at Lahore for a few days and enjoyed hospitality in a five-star stay before coming back with a huge consignment,” an official, privy to probe, said.
In another case, Jalandhar Rural Police managed to nab Malkiat Singh alias Kali from his village Tendi Wala in Ferozepur with 9kg heroin. Two days later another 12 kg was again recovered from him as police realized that the total consignment smuggled from across the border, with the help of swimmers, was 50kg.
“Police teams have effectively recovered 43.5kg of heroin after arresting at least five drug smugglers, including one swimmer identified as Joga Singh, while the search is on to nab the remaining two swimmers— identified as Gurdeep Singh alias Rangi and Gurwinder Singh alias Mashtangi, both resident of village Tendi Wala in Ferozepur.
Most people held are couriers in dire need of money
Most of the accused arrested in these operations were working as couriers and knew nothing about the operations. Take the case of a module busted by SSOC, Fazilka, wherein two accused —Sandeep Singh and Subeg Singh —were working as granthis in a local gurdwara and were arrested with 20 kg of heroin.
“Our probe found that the two accused were engaged by local smugglers as couriers because they were in dire need of money to clear family debt,” an official involved in the probe revealed.
Similarly, in another module busted by SSOC on August 21 in which 29 kg of heroin was recovered, two Pakistani nationals were held while they were crossing the border to the Indian side. They were hired by Indian smugglers.
One of the accused in the Ferozepur big haul case, Jagdeep Singh Joga from Sadiq of Faridkot was hired to bring consignment with a promise of ₹2 lakh per kg, the probe has revealed. “He was a famous swimmer in the area and payments were made via hawala, the probe found.
Punjab DGP Gaurav Yadav said under the new strategy, the cops have developed a local-level approach to deal with the big fish. “Special focus is to catch the big smugglers involved in the trade by analysing their movements to seize their properties,” the DGP said.
Special DGP Internal Security, RN Dhoke, said it is a well-coordinated effort. “Our teams have prepared targets in the form of big fish and have started tracking their movements,” Dhoke said.
GFX: Major heroin hauls
July 23: 20kg heroin recovered from granthis identified as Nishan Singh of Jora Singh Nagar in Ferozepur
August 6: 77.8 kg heroin (41.8kg + 36kg) and three pistols seized in two separate cases with the arrest of four traffickers
Aug 16: 3kg heroin recovered in Ferozepur
Aug 21: 29.2kg heroin seized with arrest of two Pak nationals in Ferozepur.
Sept 7: 43.5kg of heroin in a tranche of 50kg recovered with arrest trafficker Malkiat Singh alias Kali