A major attempt to smuggle in Rs 500 crore worth drugs from Pakistan was foiled after Coast Guard and ATS personnel intercepted a boat and seized around 100 kg heroin, officials said Wednesday. The boat crew set the vessel afire and also tried to destroy the drugs. The ATS arrested nine Iranians from the boat, the officials said. The Iranian boat was loaded off the Gwadar port in Pakistan, the officials said. The joint mid-sea operation was carried out off Gujarat coast Tuesday by the Coast Guard and the state Anti-Terrorism Squad, they added. Occupants of the boat set it ablaze as the Coast Guard and ATS personnel closed in, officials said. The boat sank off the Gujarat coast near Porbandar, an official release said.
"The interrogation of nine Iranian nationals from the smuggler's boat revealed one Pakistani national named Hamid Malek had sent the consignment, which was loaded in the Iranian boat off Gwadar port of Pakistan. The total value of the 100 kg contraband is estimated to be Rs 500 crore," the release said.
Officials said Gujarat ATS had received a tip-off that an Iranian boat will make an attempt to smuggle in heroin along the Gujarat coast.
The mid-sea operation comes after the the Indian Coast Guard on March 17 commissioned an interceptor boat at Porbandar as part of its efforts to strengthen the security umbrella of the West coast, officials said. An official release had said that Indian Coast Guard Ship C-437 would "strengthen the security umbrella of the West coast and also help augment patrolling to prevent illicit activities such as infiltration, smuggling and illegal fishing".
It had said that the boat, at 27.80 metres in length with a displacement of 106 tonnes and a maximum speed of 45 knots, was capable of undertaking multifarious tasks such as surveillance, interdiction, search and rescue as well as rendering assistance to boats in distress at sea.
"It is provided with advanced navigational and communication equipment which gives it the capability to respond to any maritime situation," officials said.
The boat, which was commissioned by Coast Guard Commander (West Seaboard) K Natarajan, would be based at Jakhau under the administrative and operational control of the Commander Coast Guard Region (North West), it said.