200 kg heroin haul in Punjab; Afghan national among arrested

Amritsar: In a major drug haul, the Special Task Force (STF) has seized nearly 200 kg of heroin, valued at around Rs 1,200 crore, from a house in Punjab’s Sultanwind village near Amritsar, close to Pakistan border, and arrested four persons, including a woman and an Afghan national.

STF chief Harpreet Singh Sidhu told the media here on Friday that 200 kg of chemical was also seized besides the heroin.

He said an Afghan national, who reached Delhi on January 19, was called to refine and cocktail the heroin with the chemicals.

Prime facie, it seemed that the people involved in this drug trade were linked to proclaimed offender and drug smuggler Simranjeet Singh Sandhu.

Media reports quoting head of the Anti Terrorist Squad of Gujarat Police Himanshu Shukla say Sandhu has been nabbed in Italy on the basis a red-corner notice of the Interpol.

He was the main accused of the smuggling of 305 kg of heroin in India through Gujarat coast and taking it to Punjab two years ago.

STF chief Sidhu said the exact role of the woman, who was arrested from the spot, is yet to be verified.

He said local businessman Ankush Kapoor and Happy were arrested.

“The role of the Afghan national was to refine the heroin and mix it with the chemicals,” he said.

“We arrested them at the beginning of the arrival of consignment. It is under investigation the origin of the heroin, whether it came from Pakistan or from somewhere,” he said.

“Today is the first day of our investigation. Two cases were registered. The first one was registered last night,” Sidhu said.

The house from where the drug was seized was taken on rent a month ago.

The major seizure was made following the questioning of two drug peddlers from which the STF had seized 6 kg heroin.

During the raid, the police also seized Dextromethorphan and caffeine powder used for mixing with heroin.

A sample of the chemical composition has been sent for testing.

In an all-time high, 532 kg of heroin was seized at the Integrated Check Post at the Attari border, some 30 km from Amritsar, on June 30 last year.

As per Commissioner, Customs, Dipak Kumar Gupta, that was an all-time high.

He said this was one of the biggest-ever seizures of heroin by any Indian agency on the India-Pakistan border and “the biggest achievement in the annals of the Indian Customs history”.

In December last, the National Investigation Agency (NIA) termed the recovery of 532 kg heroin as a case of ‘narco-terrorism’. Eleven people and four companies were named in its chargesheet. Six accused are absconding.

Smuggling of drugs along Punjab’s 553-km long border with Pakistan is common.

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