New Delhi: Amid sea drug smuggling busted, Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) officials have busted a drug smuggling gang in the middle of the sea off the Lakshadweep Islands. Officials have recovered 218 kg of heroin in an in-sea search of two boats. The cost of 218 kg heroin is said to be Rs 1,526 crore. The Finance Ministry has given complete information in this regard on Friday.
The ministry said that this action was taken under ‘Operation Khojbeen’, in which these narcotics have been recovered from two boats. In a joint operation launched on May 7 named ‘Operation Khojbeen’, ICG and DRI officials intercepted two suspicious boats off the Lakshadweep Islands offshore on May 18. Also Read – Heroin worth Rs 1439 crore recovered from Gujarat’s Kandla port.
#WATCH | Indian Coast Guard ships chased two boats named Prince and Little Jesus off the coast of Lakshadweep and intercepted them with drugs worth over Rs 1,520 crores. Operation 'Khojbeen' was launched jointly with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence: ICG officials pic.twitter.com/5drXSLrQqg
— ANI (@ANI) May 21, 2022
The DRI had received 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 huge quantities somewhere in the Arabian sea during the second to the third week of May 2022.
The operation was meticulously planned and executed by DRI and ICG and entailed extensive surveillance on the rough seas over a period of several days. The seized drug appears to be high-grade heroin and its value in the international illicit market is estimated to be over Rs 1,526 Crore.
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 18 May off the coast of Lakshadweep Islands. On questioning, some of the crew members in the said boats confessed that they had received heroin in huge quantity on the high sea and that they had concealed it in both the boats. In view thereof, both the boats were escorted to Kochi for further proceedings.
A thorough search of both the boats was carried out at the Coast Guard District Headquarters at Kochi, which resulted in the recovery of 218 packets of 1 kg each of heroin. The seizure proceedings under the provisions of the NDPS Act,1985 are currently being undertaken by the DRI. Follow-up searches are taking place at various locations and further investigation is in progress.
Accordingly, a joint operation of DRI with the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) codenamed Operation Khojbeen was launched on 7 May. Under the said operation, Coast Guard ship Sujeet, with DRI officials onboard, maintained a close watch near the Exclusive Economic Zone.