Kochi: Narcotic smuggling on the high seas that is directed to coastal Indian states like Kerala has been going on for a while.
Investigators suspect that the boat crew who were arrested in a joint operation by the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) a few days ago off the Lakshadweep coast were behind the landing of more contraband — more than 200 kg heroin —one month ago on the Kerala coast.
Then 200 kg heroin from Iran was smuggled in three fishing boats, as per the Intelligence information.
The drug, that was smuggled into Kerala coast, via Vizhinjam, was reportedly moved to an automobile workshop at Pozhiyoor in Thiruvananthapuram by T Sujan, now arrested with other boat crew.
The probe team is trying to trace the subsequent channels of distribution.
As reported earlier 218 kg of heroin worth Rs 1,526 crore were seized from two boats on May 18.
The accused had reportedly arranged for vehicles to move the 218 kg consignment from Thiruvananthapuram to Mumbai by road.
The heroin was reportedly unloaded onto the two fishing boats from a cargo ship that had sailed via the Pakistan coast. Efforts are on to trace this cargo ship with the help of the Navy.
The arrested gang included two Keralites. Thiruvananthapuram natives D Francis, 56, and T Sujan, 28, would be taken into custody on Monday and questioned in detail.
The phone number of a Keralite, who also has businesses abroad, was found on Sujan's telephone records.
The seized heroin was sourced from Afghanistan. The same narcotics from the Taliban-ruled country has been seized earlier too.
As the international links to the case have been established, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) has also started a parallel probe.