Mumbai: The Indian Coast Guard has recovered 1,500 kg of heroin worth around Rs 3,500 crore from a merchant vessel seized off the coast of Gujarat. Eight crew members — all Indians — have also been taken into custody.
The Panama-registered ship, named MV Hennery, was seized after a three-day operation based on intelligence inputs. It was taken to Porbandar on Sunday for further investigation, the Coast Guard said.
The joint probe will be conducted by the Coast Guard, the Intelligence Bureau, Customs, Navy, police and other agencies.
A Coast Guard official told CNN-News18 that the ship was coming from Iran and was bound for Alang in Gujarat. Conversation among the crew members picked up by intelligence agencies revealed the plan was to sneak heroin into the country via Alang.
“In a biggest ever haul of narcotics drugs, transported through sea routes in recent times, the Indian Coast Guard ships Samudra Pavak and Ankit intercepted and apprehended a merchant vessel off the coast of Gujarat based on intelligence input,” a statement by the Coast Guard said.
“The search operation for the suspect vessel at sea was commenced by the ships and aircraft of the Coast Guard on 27 Jul 17. A vast area of the sea was kept under continuous surveillance by ROC and ROS at Coast Guard Regional and District Headquarters located at Gandhinagar and Porbandar respectively (sic).”
“The movements of all ships in area including the suspect vessel were minutely observed throughout till its apprehension along with eight crew members by ICG ships on pm 29 Jul 17. The information about the carriage of contraband by the suspect ship was shared by NTRO and other Intelligence agencies with the Coast Guard based on which the operation was planned and executed,” the statement said.
“The apprehended ship has been brought to Porbandar on 30 Jul 17 and will be jointly investigated by the ICG, IB, Police, Customs, Navy and other agencies,” it added.