₹100 crore heroin seized in Gujarat, three arrested

Police say the same syndicate was behind the recent Morbi bust

Three days after the seizure of 120 kg heroin from three persons in Gujarat, the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Gujarat police on Wednesday arrested three more persons and recovered 24 kg heroin from them.

ATS officials said that this was a part of the same drug syndicate that was busted by the agency on Monday, when it arrested three persons from a village in Morbi district and seized 120 kg heroin worth ₹600 crore from their possession.

Together, a total of six persons have been arrested with 144 kg of recovered drugs having an estimated international market value of more than ₹700 crore.

The three persons arrested include one person from Rajasthan and two from Dwarka district in Gujarat. Those arrested earlier are also from Gujarat.

The officials of the agency have stated that the drugs originated from Pakistan and were smuggled into Gujarat via a sea route.

In a media briefing on Monday, ATS Deputy Inspector General of Police Himanshu Shukla had said that the agency had seized drugs worth ₹1,320 crore in the last one year alone. The drugs are entering India from countries like Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The consignment was reportedly delivered from a Pakistani boat off the Gujarat coast in the last week of October.

This drug consignment was apparently sent by Zahid Bashir Baloch, a resident of Pakistan, who is absconding in an earlier case pertaining to the seizure of 227 kg of heroin in 2019, as revealed in the ATS probe.

This is a second major drug seizure in Gujarat in the last two months. Earlier, in September, almost 3,000 kg heroin worth ₹20,000 crore was seized by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) from a port in Kutch, Gujarat. The case has been handed over to the National Investigation Agency since the drug consignment had originated from Afghanistan.

In the last few years, the Gujarat coast has become a preferred route for smuggling drugs from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran.

In April this year, eight Pakistan nationals onboard a boat were apprehended with heroin worth about ₹150 crore off the Gujarat coast in the Arabian Sea.

In January 2020, five Pakistani nationals on board a fishing boat were apprehended mid-sea off the Gujarat coast while they were allegedly trying to smuggle drugs worth ₹175 crore into the State. As many as 35 packets of heroin, each weighing 1 kg, were seized from the five men near the Jakhau coast in Kutch district.

Similarly, in July 2017, in one of the biggest drug hauls, an Indian Coast Guard ship seized 1,500 kg of heroin valued at about ₹3,500 crore from a merchant vessel off the Gujarat coast.

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