In a major breakthrough, the Himachal Pradesh Police has arrested a drug smuggler from Delhi and has recovered heroin (chitta) worth Rs 25 crore from his possession.

Informing about the development, Director General of Police Sanjay Kundu said the arrest was made on Wednesday evening after the arrest of two accused in Bhunter in Kullu district with 55 grams of heroin on 31 January.

“On their interrogation, it was revealed that they had procured the drugs from a smuggler in Delhi after which a Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted to nab him. The SIT under Kullu Superintendent of Police Gaurav Singh conducted a raid and nabbed the accused from Dwaraka in Delhi,” he said.

Kundu said upon search of the house of the 38-year-old accused, a native of Ivory Coast, 6.297 kg of heroin and 362 grams ganja was recovered from his residence. The estimated cost of seized contraband was around Rs 25 crore in the international and it was one of the biggest recovery contraband made by HP Police till date, he added.

The accused had been booked under section 29 of the NDPS Act by a team of Kullu Police and he had been brought to Kullu for further investigations.

The accused does not have a valid visa and he was living in India illegally, for which action under section 14 of the Foreigner Act had also been invoked against him. The accused is the main kingpin of the heroin trade and he was supplying heroin across India for many years after smuggling the contraband from Afghanistan, he said.

He further stated that from the last several months, HP Police had been targeting large networks of drug suppliers and studying their modus operandi and on 14 January, the biggest ever drug haul of 123 kg of charas was seized in Kullu district. Since July 2019, 23 foreign nationals have been arrested by Kullu police for drug trafficking out of which 17 are African national heroin suppliers.

“We will also go for financial investigation and attachment of ill-gotten assets of the accused with the help of central agencies,” Kundu added.

In the year 2020, a total of 1,538 NDPS cases were registered in which 351.018 kg of charas and 6.751 kg of heroin (chitta) have been seized. 2044 Indian and 14 foreigners were arrested in these cases. In the year 2021, a total of 149 NDPS cases have been registered till now with recovery of 179.195 kg charas and 7 kg heroin and 188 accused persons have been arrested.