Heroin worth Rs 1,500 crore seized off Lakshadweep coast: Officials

Authorities have seized a massive 218-kg heroin haul off Lakshadweep that is estimated to be worth around Rs 1,526 crore in the international market, a statement said Friday.

Officials from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Indian Coast Guard on May 18 intercepted two boats named “Prince” and “Little Jesus” from which they seized 218 packets of high-grade heroin weighing a kilo each, said the DRI statement.

The agency said it launched an operation after gathering intelligence over several months that indicated that two Indian boats would sail from the Tamil Nadu coast and receive narcotics in large quantities somewhere in the Arabian Sea during the second or third week of May.

DRI and Coast Guard officials then set up a close watch near the exclusive economic zone from May 7.

“After several days of continuous search and monitoring amidst very rough seas, two suspected boats were noticed moving towards India. Both the Indian boats were intercepted by the DRI and ICG officials on 18 May off the coast of Lakshadweep Islands. On questioning, some of the crew members in the said boats confessed that they had received heroin in huge quantities on high sea and that they had concealed it in both the boats. In view thereof, both the boats were escorted to Kochi for further proceedings.’’

Follow-up searches are taking place at various locations and further investigation is in progress.

This is the fourth major drug bust by DRI in the past month. It seized 205.6 kg of heroin from an import consignment of gypsum powder at the Kandla port on 20 April, 396 kg of yarn laced with heroin at Pipavav port on 29 April and 62 kg of heroin at the Air Cargo Complex at the Delhi airport on 5 May. These three hauls are collectively valued at around Rs 2,500 crores in the international market.

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