"High-grade heroin" worth Rs 1,526 crore was seized off the coast of the Lakshadweep Islands in a joint operation undertaken by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) called 'Operation Khojbeen'.
Thorough search of two boats conducted at the Coast Guard Headquarters in Kochi revealed 218 packets containing 1 kg of heroin each.
'Operation Khojbeen' was launched on May 7 after the DRI developed specific intelligence over a period of several months that two Indian boats sailing from the coast of Tamil Nadu would receive narcotics in huge quantity somewhere in the Arabian sea during the second or third week of May 2022.
Under the operation, Coast Guard ship 'Sujeet', with DRI officials onboard, maintained a close watch near the exclusive economic zone (EEZ).
After several days of continuous search and monitoring the seas, two suspected boats, namely "Prince" and "Little Jesus", were intercepted by officers of the ICG and DRI on May 18, off the coast of the Lakshadweep Islands.
Upon questioning, some crew members revealed that they had received heroin in "huge quantity on the high sea" and that they had concealed it in both the boats.
The DRI is conducting follow up searches at various locations and further investigation is in progress.
This is the fourth major drug bust by the DRI in the last month. Since April 2021, it has seized more than 3,800 kg of heroin valued at approximately Rs 26,000 crore in the international illicit market.
Meanwhile, the Indian Coast Guard has recovered about 3 tonnes of narcotics worth approximately Rs 6,200 crore in different operations in the last 3 years, taking the total drug haul till date to Rs 12,206 crore.