Gujarat ATS seizes 120 kg of heroin worth Rs 600 cr

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has seized 120 kg of heroin, valued at Rs 600 crore in global market, from the state’s Morbi district and arrested three persons in this connection, police officials said on Monday.

The drug consignment was sent to the accused persons by their Pakistani counterpart at the Arabian Sea near the Indo-Pakistan international maritime boundary line, and was to be delivered to an African country, they said.

It was initially kept hidden in a coastal area near Salaya in Gujarat’s Devbhumi Dwarka district before being moved to Morbi’s Zinzuda village from where it was seized on Sunday, state Director General of Police Ashish Bhatia told reporters.

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“Acting on an intelligence input on Sunday, the Gujarat ATS raided an under-construction house in the village and recovered 120 kg of heroin worth Rs 600 crore in the international market. Three persons were arrested in this connection,” the DGP said.

The consignment was sent by one Zahid Bashir Baloch, a resident of Pakistan who is a wanted absconder in the earlier seizure of 227 kg heroin by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) in 2019, he said.

It was intended to be transported to an African country, the senior police official said.

The heroin was delivered to the apprehended accused, identified as Mukhtar Hussein and Samsuddin Hussainmiyan Saiyyed, at the sea in the last week of October at the given coordination shared by Baloch with Mukhtar Hussein’s brother Isa Rav, he said.

The conspiracy for the contraband delivery was hatched in the United Arab Emirates, like in most cases in the past, the official said.

The drug consignment was to be handed over to the Indian smugglers to be transported to an African country, in accordance with the normal modus operandi of narcotic smugglers from Pakistan and Iran to use Indian counterparts for transporting drugs to the conduit, he said.

“In the present case, the accused persons, apprehended by the Gujarat ATS, decided to divert the consignment, intended for Africa, to India and misappropriate it and sell it to various buyers,” he said.

The under-construction house from where the drug consignment was seized belonged to a third accused person, identified as Gulam Hussein Umar Bhagad, he said.

“Smugglers opt for the Indian route because it is cheap, short distance, and they can easily hide their illegal activities because detection is not easy among around 25,000 fishing boats plying in the area,” he said.

Bhatia said the Gujarat coast is being used as a transit point to transport drugs being sent along the Indo-Pak international boundary line by Pakistani and Iranian heroin smugglers.

“However, the Gujarat Police have been successful in neutralising all such attempts and all the consignments sent by these cartels have been successfully seized and the accused persons arrested,” he said.

Minister of State for Home Harsh Sanghavi lauded the Gujarat Police for their efforts to tackle the drug menace.

“Another achievement of Gujarat Police. Gujarat Police is leading from the front to eliminate the drugs. Gujarat ATS has nabbed around 120 kilo drugs,” he tweeted in the morning.

The ATS in a release said the interrogation and investigation in such cases have revealed that “various geopolitical reasons are responsible for this surge in the number of attempts being made through Gujarat coast.”

Last week, the state police had seized heroin and methamphetamine drugs worth Rs 313.25 crore from three persons in Devbhumi Dwarka district.

Earlier, in the single largest heroin haul in India in September, authorities seized around 3,000 kg of the drug, believed to be from Afghanistan and likely worth Rs 21,000 crore in the global market, from two containers at the Mundra port in Gujarat’s Kutch district, officials earlier said.

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