Kochi: A fishing boat busted by the Indian Navy in the Arabian Sea was trying to sneak in 337 kilograms of heroin in its ice storage box, it was revealed. The naval officers intercepted the boat on the basis of an intelligence tipoff. They sifted through the boat in detail before finding the huge cache hidden under ice.
This is the fourth major drug bust by the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard which had stepped up monitoring in the sea after reports that maritime drug smuggling involving Sri Lankan fishing boats was on the rise.
As much as 737 kilograms of heroin – worth about Rs 7,370 crore in the international market – was seized by the forces from Sri Lankan boats in the past six months. The Coast Guard seized a Sri Lankan boat carrying 300 kilograms of heroin, five AK-47 rifles and 1000 bullets on March 18. A Sri Lankan boat intercepted by the Coast Guard near Thoothukudy in Tamil Nadu in November was ferrying 100 kilograms of heroin.
The total result of the joint hunt for drugs would have been greater if the Coast Guard could recover the haul from a Sri Lankan boat they intercepted near Vizhinjam in Kerala on March 5. The smugglers are believed to have dumped 250 kilograms heroin into the sea before they were busted by the Coast Guard.
That would have taken the total value of the contraband closer to Rs 10,000 crore, sources said.