The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has seized drugs valued at over Rs 1,900 crore since 2016, and out of these, narcotics worth Rs 900 crore were recovered this year alone, officials said on Monday.
More than 70 people were arrested by the ATS during this period in some of the major cases related to narcotics, they said, adding that smugglers from Pakistan had been trying to use the Gujarat coast as a transit route to transport narcotics to their destination, especially in the last four years, but all such attempts were foiled.
This year, heroin worth Rs 900 crore was seized in different operations, including 120 kg of the contraband valued at Rs 600 crore recovered on Sunday from Morbi district, which was also sent by a Pakistani smuggler and brought to the Gujarat coast through sea route, the ATS officials said.
Since 2016, various drugs, including heroin, mandrax, methamphetamine (or MD), charas and brown sugar, collectively weighing 2,242 kg and worth Rs 1,923 crore in global market were seized by the ATS, they said.
In September this year, the ATS in a joint operation with the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) seized 30 kg of heroin worth Rs 150 crore transported by an Iranian fishing boat at the Arabian Sea of the Gujarat coast.
Last year, the ATS had seized drugs worth Rs 177 crore, in 2019 worth Rs 526 crore, in 2018 of Rs 14 crore, and in 2016 of Rs 303 crore. No major contraband was seized in 2017, according to the ATS data.
Gujarat ATS Deputy Inspector General (Operations) Himanshu Shukla told reporters on Monday that Pakistani drug syndicates have been trying to use the Gujarat coast as a transit route for smuggling purposes, but all their attempts were foiled by the state police and central agencies, like the Coast Guard and the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI).
"Pakistani drug cartels have been trying to use the Gujarat coast as the transit route because of its proximity to the neighbouring country," Mr Shukla said.
"All such attempts have been thwarted by the Gujarat police and other central agencies, and in future too, no such attempts will succeed. A large quantity of drugs have been seized at the sea by the ATS, ICG and marine police. We have a 1,600-km-long coastline, hence all the agencies work in coordination to achieve this," the official said.