The chief of police in Gujarat said on Tuesday that following an overnight operation at sea, Indian counterterrorism forces had apprehended a group of five Iranian nationals who were in possession of narcotics with an estimated street value of $51.9 million.
During a press conference, Gujarat Director General of Police Vikas Sahay revealed that Iranian smugglers and a gang based in northern India were transporting the 61 kg haul of drugs by boat from the port of Chabahar in Iran’s southeast.
Off the coast of Okha, close to India’s maritime border, personnel from the state’s counterterrorism unit and coast guards intercepted the Iranian vessel on Monday night.
180 nautical miles from Okha, the Anti-Terrorism Squad of the Gujarat Police and the Indian Coast Guard apprehended a suspicious boat and five Iranian nationals on board. Sahay reported that 61 kilograms of a narcotic substance was found on the boat, with a street value of about RS425 crores ($51.9 million).
It was the most recent of several drug busts involving Iranian smugglers off the coast of Gujarat.
By mid-September 2021, the Indian Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had made the largest narcotics bust in the country’s history, seizing nearly 3,000 kilograms of heroin that had been smuggled into the country through the Bandar Abbas port in southern Iran, disguised as semi-processed talc stones.
A few days later, seven more Iranians were arrested after being found with over 30 kilograms of drugs.
From Afghanistan, narcotics make their way to Iran. Ranjit Singh, a defense analyst, told Arab News that traffickers often use the India route to send their shipments elsewhere.
On the other hand, in recent years India has deployed extensive coastal surveillance systems, allowing security forces to quickly intercept suspicious vessels.
The Coast Guard now has state-of-the-art monitoring facilities at its disposal. An array of coastal radars was installed. Castaways were issued new forms of photo identification. The Coast Guard can now keep a closer eye out for any unknown boats cruising the Indian coast, Singh said.
Extremely difficult conditions for terrorists and drug traffickers to operate in.