Amritsar: In its biggest ever narcotics haul, the Customs Department seized 532 kg of suspected heroin worth Rs 2,700 crore, which was smuggled into India from Pakistan in a truck through trade route at the Attari border, officials said Sunday.
An official said the smuggling racket's alleged mastermind, based in Kashmir valley, has been arrested and the importer of the rock salt consignment, who is based in Amritsar, has been detained for questioning.
The consignment of heroin and another 52 kg of suspected mixed narcotics was concealed under hundreds of bags of rock salt inside the truck which arrived at Attari through the Integrated Check Post (ICP) two days ago, Customs (Preventive) Commissioner Deepak Kumar Gupta said.
"In a major breakthrough in busting the international organised drug smuggling, the Customs Preventive Commissionerate, Amritsar has seized 532 kg of suspected heroin and 52 kg of suspected mixed narcotics in the import consignment at ICP, Attari," he said.
"This is the biggest ever achievement in annals of the Indian Customs history," he told a press conference here.
Tariq Ahmed, the mastermind of the organised smuggling racket based in Handwara, Kashmir, has been arrested with the help of Jammu and Kashmir police, Gupta said, adding that further investigations is underway.
"We are also questioning the importer of the consignment of rock salt," he said.
The import consignment from Pakistan had arrived here two days ago and the truck driver had returned after unloading it.
Before clearing a consignment, the Customs Department carries out its detailed checking and examination.
On Saturday, at about 1330 hours, during examination of the consignment by customs staff at ICP, Attari, one sack was found containing white coloured powder substance.
On a detailed examination of 600 bags, 15 were suspected to contain narcotics. On further examination, all 15 bags were found to contain heroin with a net weight of 532 kg and mixed narcotics of 52 kg, Gupta said.
"The value of heroin in the international market is approximately Rs 2,700 crore," he said.
The heroin was seized under provisions of the Customs Act and the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act, Gupta said.
"This is one of the biggest seizures of heroin by Indian agency along the Indo-Pakistan border... It is the biggest success of Customs Preventive Commissionerate, Amritsar against organised smuggling of narcotics including heroin along Indo-Pakistan border through trade route," he said.