2,500kg drugs seized were packaged in Pakistan, says NCB
The consignment was hidden in different jute bags weighing 40 kg and 20 kg purportedly belonging to a Pakistan-based rice company.
The 2,500kg drug consignment seized near the Kerala coast was meant for India and Sri Lanka, officials familiar with the matter said on Sunday, adding that the drug has “footprints of Pakistan all over it”.
Early Saturday morning, at least 2,500 kg drugs, suspected to be methamphetamine and estimated to be around ₹12,000 crore, was seized from a large vessel near Kerala’s Mattancherry coast in a joint operation by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and Indian Navy, with officials saying that the drug was seized from a “mother ship” in Balochistan at Makran coast near Iran-Pakistan border. A 29-year-old Pakistani national was also detained after the vessel was intercepted in Indian waters in the Indian Ocean. The agency has termed it the largest seizure of methamphetamine in the country.
According to NCB, a “mother ship” is a large vessel carrying huge quantities of narcotics for distribution to receiving boats along the route. The interrogation of the Pakistani national has revealed that the “receivers in smaller boats were to collect the consignment from the Pakistan man and then take it to Sri Lanka and India”, the official quoted above said, requesting anonymity. ”The final source of the drug was not Sri Lanka, according to the detained man. They did not want to carry such a large consignment into India in smaller boats and were diverting part of the consignment to Sri Lanka for the time being. Ultimately it would be brought to India after a few weeks,” the official added.
The Pakistan man could be a key source in identifying the receivers of the drugs, the official added. “He claims to be from the Baloch region in Pakistan. His job was to hand over the drug in small quantities. He had boarded the ship at the source and knew exactly to whom the consignment was to be delivered in the Indian ocean. The drug has footprints of Pakistan all over it.”
The consignment was hidden in different jute bags weighing 40 kg and 20 kg purportedly belonging to a Pakistan-based rice company – Khushboo Basmati Rice by Haji Dawood and sons, and another company named Shaheen by Al Faisal.
The case was busted as part of Operation Samudragupt, launched by the NCB in January 2022, to intercept contraband that is brought into India through the marine channel.
As part of the operation, the agency has been working closely with the intelligence wing of the Indian Navy, Department of Revenue Intelligence, and police forces of coastal states to intercept the drugs.
This is the third significant drug bust over the past one year. In February 2022, the NCB recovered 529kg hashish, 221kg methamphetamine and 13kg heroin near the Gujarat coast, and another 200kg of high-grade heroin was seized near the Kerala coast in October 2022.