Drugs worth Rs 600 crore seized from Pakistani boat off Gujarat coast

The Indian Coast Guard arrested 14 persons on board the vessel. Photo: X/@IndiaCoastGuard

Ahmedabad: The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has seized 86 kg of drugs worth Rs 600 crore from a Pakistani boat and arrested 14 persons on board the vessel off the Gujarat coast, the maritime security agency said on Sunday.

The overnight operation in the Arabian Sea was carried out in coordination with the Gujarat Anti-terrorism Squad (ATS) and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), it said in a release.

This was the 11th such successful joint operation in the past three years involving the Coast Guard and the ATS, it said, seeking to underscore the synergy between the two agencies. A top Gujarat police official said heroin was seized from the boat.

In a breathtaking overnight operation, the Indian Coast Guard undertook an intelligence-based anti-narcotics operation at sea on April 28. Approx 86 kg of narcotics worth Rs 600 crore has been apprehended along with 14 crew from the Pakistani boat, the agency said in a release.

Coast Guard ships and aircraft were deployed for the operation, it said, adding that ICG ship Rajratan was used to identify the suspect boat with the help of NCB and ATS officials on board.

No amount of evasive manoeuvring tactics employed by the drug-laden boat could save it from the swift and strong ICG ship Rajratan. The ship's specialist team embarked on the suspect boat and, after thorough checks, confirmed the presence of a sizable amount of narcotics, the Coast Guard said.

The Pakistani boat along with its 14-member crew were apprehended and were being brought to Porbandar for further investigations, it added.

The jointness of ICG and ATS, which has led to eleven such successful law enforcement operations in the last three years, itself reaffirms the synergy for national objectives, it added.

A total of 78 packets weighing 86 kg were recovered from the Pakistani fishing boat, Gujarat Director General of Police Vikas Sahay said. The packets contained heroin, a powerful recreational opioid, he said, citing the preliminary investigation.

Indian Coast Guard and ATS officials approached the Pakistani fishing boat and confronted it with bravery. An ICG official had to shoot, after which the crew members of the boat surrendered and the officials detained them," Sahay told media persons.

He said the head of the crew was injured in his right hand in the firing and was undergoing treatment.

After the boat was seized, a second ATS team left for the spot, he said. All the crew members hail from Balochistan in Pakistan, he said.

Last month, the Coast Guard, NCB and ATS had caught a boat carrying methamphetamine, a highly addictive psycho-stimulant drug, worth over Rs 400 crore and its six Pakistani crew members off the Porbandar coast in Gujarat, officials had said.

In February, the Indian Navy and the NCB had apprehended a dhow off the Gujarat coast with five crew members and seized 3,300 kg of drugs from it, the largest quantity of narcotics seized in recent times, officials had said.

The narcotic substances included 3,089 kilograms of charas. A kilogram of charas costs nearly Rs 7 crore in international markets, they had said.

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