Iranian drugs worth $52 million seized by Indian anti-terrorism police


New Delhi – India’s Gujarat police chief disclosed that five Iranian nationals had been detained by its counterterrorism police after being caught in possession of drugs worth $51.9 million during an overnight operation at sea.

On Monday night, based on intelligence, members of the state’s counterterrorism unit and coast guards intercepted the Iranian ship off the coastal town of Okha, close to India’s maritime boundary.

“The Anti-Terrorism Squad of Gujarat Police and Indian Coast Guard have apprehended a suspicious boat along with five Iran nationals 180 nautical miles from Okha. Sixty-one kilograms of a narcotic substance worth approximately RS425 crores ($51.9 million) was seized from the boat”, Sahay said.

The incident was the latest in a string of drug busts involving Iranian smugglers off the Gujarati coast.

In mid-September 2021, in the country’s biggest narcotics seizure, the Indian Directorate of Revenue Intelligence recovered almost 3,000 kg of heroin, which reached the country through the Bandar Abbas port in southern Iran concealed in semi-processed talc stones.

A few days later, authorities arrested seven Iranians in another bust who were in possession of more than 30 kg of drugs.

“Drugs go to Iran from Afghanistan. Traffickers use the India route to send the consignments to other parts of the world also”, Defence Analyst Ranjit Singh.

India has recently installed extensive coastline monitoring systems that enable security authorities to quickly intercept suspect vessels.

“The Coast Guard has been equipped with new surveillance infrastructure. Coastal radars were set up. Fishermen were given new identity devices. This has helped the Coast Guard in keeping a close watch on any unidentified boat roaming in Indian coastal areas,” Singh said.

“Terrorists and drug traffickers will find it very difficult to survive in such heavily secured waters.”

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