Kochi: In yet another narcotics haul, the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) jointly seized 218 kg of heroin worth Rs 1,526 crore smuggled in from Afghanistan which was being taken through sea route.
The DRI team that arrived on Coast Guard boat "Sujeet" intercepted two Indian boats which were moving from the coast of Agatti Island in Lakshadweep under suspicious circumstances. There were 20 workers on the boats.
The boat crew, on being questioned, admitted that narcotic drugs were hidden in the boats.
An official statement later said an operation was launched by the DRI after it developed specific intelligence over a period of several months that two Indian boats would be sailing from the coast of Tamil Nadu and receive narcotics in large quantity somewhere in the Arabian Sea, during the second/third week of May.
Based on these inputs, a joint operation of the DRI with ICG codenamed 'Operation Khojbeen' was launched on May 7 and under the operation, ICG ship Sujeet, with DRI officials onboard, maintained a close watch near the the country's Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), it said.
After several days of continuous search and monitoring amidst very rough seas, two suspected boats 'Prince' and 'Little Jesus' were noticed moving towards India. Both the Indian boats were intercepted by officers of ICG and DRI on May 18 off the coast of Lakshadweep Islands, the statement said.
The DRI officials recovered 218 heroin packets of one kilogram each during the search operation carried out on the seized boats which were brought to the Coast Guard headquarters in Kochi.
This is the fourth biggest drug seizure carried out by the DRI within a month. The officials seized drugs worth Rs 2,500 crore in the international market during this period.
Since April 2021, the DRI has seized 3,800 kg of narcotics drugs worth Rs 26,000 crore and the coast guard seized three tonnes of narcotic drugs worth Rs 6200 during the last three years.
During separate raids the enforcement agencies seized AK-47 rifles and handguns being smuggled by Sri Lankan nationals on Iranian and Pakistani boats.