DRI pursuing leads on Mundra heroin seizure

Agency investigating identities of masterminds behind international drug trafficking syndicate

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) is pursuing further leads in connection with the 3,000 kg heroin seizure at the port in Gujarat’s Mundra last month to determine the identities of the masterminds behind the international drug trafficking syndicate.

Ten accused persons, including six Afghan nationals and an Uzbek woman, have been arrested by the agency so far in the case. Two of the Afghan nationals were picked up from Shimla a few days ago.

Investigations have so far indicated that the contraband was packed in Afghanistan and sent through a Kandahar-based company named Hassan Hussain Limited. The consignment was declared as talc stones to be exported to Aashi Trading Company in Vijayawada, via Bandar Abbas port in Iran.

“Usually, such consignments are transported from Afghanistan to the Bandar Abbas port by land route. In this case, we are trying to gather information on the exact route taken, and the modus operandi used, to smuggle the contraband. At the port, conduits are roped in by the drug traffickers to get necessary documents for cargo shipping,” said an official.

It is suspected that the consignment was meant to be brought to Delhi for further transportation. The agency has questioned the accused persons to identify the ultimate intended recipients of the drugs.

“There has been a spurt in the use of maritime routes by syndicates, mostly involving Pakistan-based elements, for smuggling huge quantities of heroin in the region. Large seizures are being made by the drug law enforcement agencies in India and Sri Lanka,” the official said.

On September 10, the Sri Lanka Navy had intercepted a foreign fishing vessel carrying over 170 kg of heroin in international waters. Nine Pakistani nationals aboard the boat were held.

The operation was carried out on the basis of information gathered following the seizure of about 290 kg of heroin on August 30, and then of 336 kg heroin on September 4. Seven Pakistani nationals were earlier arrested by the Sri Lankan agencies and a “mother” ship was impounded.

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