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Indian Coast Guard seizes Pakistani fishing boat Al Madina with 100 kg heroin

An initial search by the Indian Coast Guard boarding party revealed 194 packets of suspected narcotic substance.

SNS | New Delhi |

The Indian Coast Guard on early Tuesday seized a Pakistani fishing boat, Al Madina, carrying 100 kg heroin valued at Rs 600 crore in the international market.

The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) said they received an intelligence input on Sunday night of a suspicious vessel likely to be engaged in drug trafficking in an area off Indo-Pak International Maritime Border Line (IMBL) off the Gujarat coast.

On Monday, similar intelligence inputs were received from the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence too.

The ICG, said in a statement, immediately swung into action and ICG Ship Arinjay on patrol off Indo-Pak IMBL was alerted about the suspected vessel.

“Two additional interceptor boats C-437 and C-408 were also tasked from Jakhau and Okha to augment the search for the suspect vessel. ICG Dornier aircraft was also launched from Porbandar on 20 and 21 May 2019 for aerial recce in the area,” added the ICG.

As the Coast Guard ships and aircraft maintained extensive search in the area, one fishing boat was found to be suspicious. The ICG ships shadowed the suspect vessel during the dark hours of Monday night.

With the first light on Tuesday, ‘Al Madina’, the suspect vessel, crossed the IMBL towards the Indian side and started moving towards the Jakhau coast. Arinjay intercepted it around 9.15 am at about 08 nautical miles inside Indian waters off IMBL. It was found to be a Pakistani fishing boat registered at Karachi with 06 Pakistani crew.

An initial search by the Indian Coast Guard boarding party revealed 194 packets of suspected narcotic substance.

“The vessel is being escorted to Jakhau harbour for detailed investigation and rummaging,” said the statement.

An Indian fishing vessel was in the vicinity to allegedly receive the contraband. All 13 crew members on board the vessel have been arrested.

Speaking about the operation, ICG Director General Rajendra Singh said, “The Coast Guard has been at the forefront in anti-narcotics and anti-smuggling operations and since inception has seized contraband worth of more than Rs. 5000 crores.”

During a similar operation on 24 March 2019, ICG ship Rajratan and the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad, in a joint operation, seized about 100 kg heroin from a suspected Pakistani dhow off the coast of Gujarat and arrested nine Iranian crew of the vessel.