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NIA likely to take over probe into massive drug haul in Kochi

The Centre may hand over the probe into the case to the NIA as the initial probe has revealed that an international drug syndicate with alleged links with Pakistan is involved in drug trafficking.

Statesman News Service | Kochi |

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) may take over the probe into a case related to the seizure of 200 kg of Afghan heroin from an Iranian fishing vessel off the Kochi coast by the Narcotics Central Bureau(NCB) on Friday.

The investigation agency is reportedly collecting details of the seizure of 200 kg of Afghan heroin from an Iranian fishing vessel off the Kochi coast from Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB), and the sleuths of the probe agency is learnt to have interrogated the six Iranian crew members who were nabbed from the vessel.

Sources said the Centre may hand over the probe into the case to the NIA as the initial probe has revealed that an international drug syndicate with alleged links with Pakistan is involved in the drug trafficking.

In a major drug breakthrough, Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) has seized 200 kg of Afghan heroin from an Iranian fishing vessel off the Kochi coast on Friday. Six Iran nationals were arrested and they were brought to Kochi along with the boat.

The NCB said it had acted upon specific inputs on an international drug trafficking organization and intercepted the fishing boat in a joint operation with the Indian Navy. The consignment was meant to be handed over to a Sri Lankan vessel.

The NCB officials said that the seized heroin was found in 200 packets which had the markings and packaging specialities unique to Afghan and Pakistan-based drug cartels. While some of the drug packets had ‘Scorpion’ seal markings the others had ‘dragon’.

The drug was sourced from Afghanistan, transported to Pakistan, and loaded into the seized Iranian vessel mid-sea off the Pakistan coast. They said the network of the Pakistan-based drug kingpin Haji Salim was used in transporting the drug.
The NCB sources further said that the trafficking of Afghan heroin into India through the Arabian Sea and the Indian Ocean has exponentially increased over the last few years.

The seized heroin was found in 200 packets and each of the packets had markings and packing specialities unique to Afghan and Pakistan-based drug cartels. While some of the drug packets had ‘Scorpion’ seal markings the others had ‘dragon’, NIA officials said

Meanwhile, it is learnt that the NCB  has chalked out an operation to check drug smuggling through the coasts of Kerala. The Centre has decided to form a special intelligence wing based in Kochi to strengthen the NCB’s activities in southern India. Ten officers, who have been trained in foreign countries, would be appointed for the unit in Kochi. They would also get the cooperation of the Naval Intelligence wing, sources said.