NCB seizure part of Operation Samudragupt targeting maritime trafficking of drugs from Afghanistan
Geetanjali Minhas | May 14, 2023 | Mumbai
In one of the biggest operations of its kind, drugs worth Rs 2500 crore have been confiscated by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) near the Kerala coast.
NCB in a joint operation with the Intelligence Wing of Indian Navy, intercepted a Mother Ship, carrying 134 sacks of high purity Methamphetamine from Makran Coast estimated to be around around 2500 kg the least.
The seizure is part of Operation Samudragupt targeting maritime trafficking of drugs originating from Afghanistan. The intercepted speed boat was occupied by one person suspected to be a Pakistani national. The vessel along with sacks, other items salvaged from the mother ship and that person were brought to Mattancherry Wharf, Cochin on May 13 and handed over to NCB for further action. NCB said that the source of the drug was ‘Death Crescent’ (the regions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran are termed as a death crescent because most of the contraband smuggled into the country comes from these three countries).
Mother ships are large sea going vessels carrying large quantities of narcotic contrabands for distribution to receiving vessels over the route.
After receiving a tip-off the team kept a close watch on inputs and shared the details with Indian Navy after which an Indian Naval Ship was deployed in the vicinity.
Anticipating threat to national security from maritime trafficking of Heroin and other drugs over the maritime route in Indian Ocean region, Director General, NCB launched Operation Samudragupt headed by Sanjay Kumar Singh, Deputy Director General (Ops), NCB and officers of Operations Branch of NCB Headquarters in January 2022.
The team took the help of drug law enforcement agencies such as DRI, ATS Gujarat etc. as well as intelligence agencies like the Intelligence Wing of Indian Navy, NTRO etc.
In February 2022, a joint team of NCB and Indian Navy had seized 529 kg of Hashish, 221kg of Methamphetamine and 13kg of Heroin in the high seas off the coast of Gujarat sourced from Baluchistan and Afghanistan.
Further consistent efforts and round the clock surveillance by the team resulted in the interception of an Iranian boat off the coast of Kerala in a joint operation by NCB and Indian Navy in the month of October, 2022. A total of 200kg of high-grade Heroin sourced from Afghanistan was seized and six Iranian drug traffickers were arrested in the operation.
In another operation NCB shared real time actionable information generated during the course of Operation Samudragupt with Sri Lanka and Maldives which resulted in seizure of 286kg of Heroin and 128kg of Methamphetamine with arrest of 19 drug traffickers in two operations conducted by Sri Lankan Navy in the months of December 2022 and April 2023 and 4kg of Heroin with arrest of 5 drug traffickers by Maldivian Police in March, 2023.
So far approximately 3200 kg Methamphetamine, 500kg of Heroin and 529 kg of Hashish has been seized in the operation by NCB.
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