Five persons, including two Afghan nationals, were arrested and heroin worth about Rs 600 crore in the international market was seized from them, police said Friday.
The accused were identified as Shinwari Rehmat Gul, 30, Akhtar Mohammad Shinwari, 31, Vakeel Ahmed, 36, Raees Khan, 43, and Dheeraj, 21, they said.
Gul and Shinwari, from Afghanistan, had expertise about chemicals, police said.
Gul, who had an experience in working in a drug industry in Afghanistan, was sent to India by the syndicate to handhold the operations of a newly-established unit at Delhi's Zakir Nagar, while Shinwari was assisting Gul in setting up the unit, they said.
Ahmed and Khan used to deliver the consignment, while Dheeraj used to work as a driver and transported the processed heroin to various places in Punjab and other states, police said.
The members of the international drug cartel were involved in importing, reconstituting and distributing heroin. The syndicate employed chemical experts from Jalalabad, Afghanistan to oversee the reconstitution and processing of heroin in India, Deputy Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), Manishi Chandra said.
The modus operandi involved soaking of jute bags that were meant for carrying cumin and other household spices from Afghanistan to India in a heroin-laden solution. Every empty jute bag concealed a dried solution of heroin powder in its fibres. Once the spices were removed, every empty jute bag, when processed, would yield approximately 1 kg of high quality heroin, he said.
On Wednesday, Dheeraj and Raees Khan were arrested from near the Ashram flyover and 60 kg fine quality contraband, parcelled in packets, was found concealed inside a especially-created cavity between the back seat and boot space of each of the two cars, the officer added.
Subsequently, a raid was conducted at a location in Zakir Nagar area of South East Delhi from where an industrial set up in the making was busted, the DCP said.
By a first-hand observation of the processing set-up found at the site and the quantity of the recovered heroin, it is inferred that this consignment may have actually been processed somewhere else and was kept there for further transportation, he added.
The two Afghan nationals and another accused Ahmed, who had finished loading his car with contraband, was also apprehended from the unit site and another 30 kg of heroin imported from Afghanistan was seized from the vehicle, the officer said.
The Zakir Nagar unit has been sealed and arrangements are being made for its detailed inspection with the assistance of forensic experts, he added.
Two semi-automatic pistols and 20 live cartridges seized were used by the cartel as a security cover when important movements were made and when new clients were introduced for expanding the illicit business, police said