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Pak boat with drugs worth Rs 480 crore held off Gujarat coast

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra
March 12, 2024 22:29 IST
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In a sea-air coordinated operation, narcotics worth Rs 480 crore were seized from a Pakistani boat with six crew in the Arabian Sea near Porbandar by a multi-agency team led by the Indian Coast Guard, the defence ministry said on Tuesday.

Photograph: ANI Photo

The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) coordinated with the Coast Guard in the operation in the intervening nights of March 11 and 12, it said.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG), based on intelligence inputs, apprehended a Pakistani boat with six crew members and narcotics onboard, the ministry said in a statement.

'The boat was apprehended about 350 km from Porbandar into Arabian Sea in a sea-air coordinated operation involving Indian Coast Guard ships and Dornier aircraft,' it said.

The ministry said the operation exhibited well-coordinated efforts between ICG, NCB and ATS Gujarat.


It said the Indian Coast Guard, on specific intelligence input from agencies, strategically positioned its ships in the Arabian Sea on March 11.

The ICG also tasked its Dornier aircraft to scan and locate the boat in likely areas.

'After an exhaustive search in the area, the ICG ships, with teams of NCB and ATS Gujarat, arrived at the location and positively identified the boat which was moving suspiciously in the dark," it said. On being challenged by ICG ships, the boat started evasive manoeuvring, but was deftly chased and forced to stop by ICG ships,' it said.

A team immediately embarked the ship for preliminary checks and investigations.

It was found to be a 'Pakistani boat with six crew. Investigation by the joint boarding team and rummaging of the boat revealed approximately 80 kgs of drugs worth approximately Rs 480 crore', the ministry said.

It said the boat along with the crew has been apprehended and is being brought to Porbandar for further investigation.

Sunil Joshi, Superintendent of Police, ATS, said nearly 60 packets of methamphetamine were seized and a preliminary probe by the Gujarat ATS revealed that the narcotics was loaded in the Pakistan-registered fishing boat at Gwadar port of the neighbouring nation and the cargo was supposed to be delivered to an Indian boat mid-sea near Gujarat coast.

"We had received a tip-off that a Pak boat will reach near Gujarat coast with contraband during early hours of Tuesday and deliver the cargo mid-sea to perpetrators on board an Indian boat. Based on that tip-off, the ICG, NCB and ATS conducted a joint operation in the Arabian Sea near the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL)," he said.

As directed by the Pak-based drug dealer Haji Mustafa, the Pakistani crew was supposed to give a signal to the Indian boat using a radio channel after entering the Indian waters, Joshi said.

"Officials of the NCB and the ATS boarded an ICG ship and intercepted the Pakistani boat during early hours nearly 180 nautical miles off the Porbandar coast," said Joshi.

"During the search of the fishing boat, we found 60 kg of methamphetamine packed in 60 packets. The boat along with six Pakistani crew members, all residents of Balochistan, are now being brought to the shore for further investigation," the ATS officer added.

According to him, the narcotics substance was sent by Haji Mustafa and its final destination was Delhi and Punjab.

The arrested men were identified as Bahar Ali, Andazlala Akbar, Mutalib Khan, Zubair Ahmed, Mohammad Ayaz and Mohsin Hussain.

The ministry said, "This is the 10th apprehension by ICG, jointly with ATS Gujarat and NCB, in the last three years, amounting to 517 kg of narcotics worth Rs 3,135 crore."

Also, this is the second major anti-narcotics operation carried out by the agencies in the Arabian Sea in one month.

On February 26, five foreign nationals were apprehended off the Porbandar coast with 3,300 kg of narcotics, including charas, it said.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Utkarsh Mishra© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.