India Impounds 200kg Heroin off Pakistani Boat
NEW DELHI: A boat carrying 200 kilograms of herion in the Arabian sea was confiscated by India allegedly with Pakistani drug traffickers on-board, a defence official said on Tuesday.
The $15 million haul is one of the country's largest, and comes as narcotic flows from Afghanistan escalate.
A joint navy and coastguard operation intercepted the vessel in Indian waters on Monday, apparently headed for the western state of Gujarat, Indian navy spokesman D K Sharma said.
“Using fishing boats to smuggle heroin is a new strategy by Pakistani smugglers,” said Sharma, adding that the smugglers were using phones and Global Positioning Systems (GPS) to allow trans-shipment to another boat.
Eight crew members from Pakistan were detained and taken into police custody in Gujarat, he said.
When contacted, Pakistan's foreign office declined to comment on the development.
The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), a specialized police force, said the confiscation of heroin on Tuesday was one of India's biggest recorded heroin seizures.
The NCB this year sought cooperation from the Indian military to fight the rise in heroin smuggled from Afghanistan via Pakistan through India's disputed state of Kashmir in the north and coastal border areas in the west.
United Nations officials in Kabul recorded a sharp spike this year in the amount of heroin seized from passengers trying to fly from Afghanistan to India.
Pakistani and Indian fishermen are frequently arrested by both countries because the Arabian Sea maritime border between the two countries is poorly defined, and fishing boats often lack the technology to know their precise location.
In January, Indian authorities intercepted a Pakistani fishing boat said to be carrying explosives off the western coast after a chase.
The boat was destroyed in a fire India said was started by its Pakistani crew, but a senior coast guard official later claimed that he had ordered the destruction of the vessel.
India upgraded coastal security after ten Pakistani gunmen arrived on a rubber boat in Mumbai in 2008 for a commando-style assault on two luxury hotels, a train station and a Jewish centre that killed 166 people.
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