Estimated to be worth Rs 1,200 crore, 200 kg heroin made in Afghanistan first came into Pakistan, from where it was put on an Iranian boat, and it was meant to be sold in India and Sri Lanka, said Indian officials today after having intercepted the boat and arresting six Iranian nationals.
This Iranian boat was to transfer the drugs — being shipped in a waterproof, seven-layer packaging — to a Sri Lankan boat, which could not be traced, said officials.
Indian Navy and the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) conducted the operation on sea on Thursday and brought the seized consignment to Kochi in Kerala, along with the six Iranian nationals, said Sanjay Kumar Singh, a senior offer of the NCB.
The packets have markings and packing specialties unique to cartels in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the officer said. "While some of the drug packets had 'Scorpion' seal markings, the others had 'dragon' seal markings.”
he heroin was possibly sent out on a boat from Pakistan and later loaded onto the now-seized Iranian vessel “in a mid-sea exchange”, said officials. This vessel then set sail to Indian waters for further delivery to a Sri Lankan vessel. It was caught before the handover. Efforts were made to identify and intercept this Sri Lankan vessel but it couldn't be traced, officials said.
NCB officer Singh said the men on the Iranian ship tried to escape by jumping into the sea and also tried to dump the heroin into the waters.
The NCB said trafficking of Afghan heroin into India via the maritime route — Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean — has increased exponentially over the last few years.
"The southern route… from Afghanistan to Makran coast of Iran and Pakistan and then onwards to various countries in the Indian Ocean Region, including India, has gained prominence over the last few years," Mr Singh said.