Officers of the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) have intercepted 218 kgs of heroin worth Rs 1,526 crore in a mid-sea drug bust off the coast of Lakshadweep Islands, the finance ministry said on Friday. In a joint operation codenamed Operation Khojbeen, launched on May 7, two suspected boats were intercepted by officers of ICG and DRI on May 18 off the coast of Lakshadweep Islands.
On questioning, some of the crew members confessed that they had received heroin in huge quantity on high sea and that they had concealed it in both the boats. Both the boats were escorted to Kochi for further proceedings. “Thorough search of both the boats was carried out at the Coast Guard District Headquarters at Kochi, which resulted in heroin recovery of 218 packets of 1 kg each…. Seized drug appears to be of high-grade heroin and its value in the international illicit market is estimated to be around Rs 1,526 crore,” a ministry statement said.
This is the fourth major drug bust by DRI in the past month. Earlier, DRI recovered 205.6 kg heroin from a commercial import consignment of gypsum powder at the Kandla port on April 20; 396 kg of yarn (laced with heroin) at Pipavav port on April 29; and 62 kg heroin at Air Cargo Complex, IGI New Delhi on May 10, collectively valued at approximately Rs 2,500 crore in the international illicit market.