Drug peddlers have begun fearlessly transporting drugs via containers, making ports a new playground for smuggling. Emerging as the biggest threats to narco-terrorism, these containers carry drugs in massive quantities and a single miss from the port authorities gives them crores of profits.
Since 2020, intelligence agencies have been dealing with the new trend, which poses a challenge for security agencies guarding virtual borders. The transportation of massive quantities began during the first lockdown triggered due to Covid-19 last year.
An intelligence official said that large consignments have bigger benefits. “Almost four years back, consignments used to come through air, land or water with limited quantity, majorly in kilograms. But, now dealers have started taking the risk of sending consignments stored in containers through vessels. If it gets a clearance, they easily get a lot of money due to the large quantity with single consignment," an intelligence official told News18.
“Air routes are not preferred as one can’t conceal large quantities of drugs. Similarly, smuggling of drugs by road has a similar challenge. But, water transportation of drugs in containers gives dealers a chance to get thousands of crores of rupees in a few days," the official explained.
On Sunday, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had impounded two containers carrying about 2,988.22kg of heroin at Mundra port in Gujarat.
Containers seized in Mundra port is said to be the biggest seizure done by Indian agencies as the expected cost of this consignment is close to Rs 20,000 crore. Two persons have been arrested and the role of some Afghan nationals is also being investigated. The breakthrough came after the agency received a specific tip-off about a consignment imported by Aashi Trading Company, located in Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.
But this is not the first time when DRI has seized an illegal drugs consignment valued crores of rupees.
Just four months back, authorities had seized another consignment of almost 300 Kgs of drugs in Tuticorin port worth Rs 2000 crore. The container ship had the world’s most expensive drug- Cocaine.
Similarly, the same cost of Heroin was seized from Mumbai port in July. There were two seizures in July this year, reached from Afghanistan in containers, weighing close to 425 kilograms.
According to ex- DRI chief Najib Shah, this trend started in late August 2020 with the seizure of 191 kgs of high-grade heroin in JNPT port, India’s largest container port.
“The consignment was concealed in a container that had come in from Pakistan via Chabahar port. In November 2020, the ICG intercepted a Sri Lankan boat off the eastern coast of Tamil Nadu with 120 kgs of heroin," Shah told News18.
This year in March 2021, the coast guard along with the help of Indian intelligence agencies seized heroin along with AK-47 and 1000 rounds of ammunition from three Sri Lankan vessels in Minicoy island in Lakshadweep.
“Dealers don’t care about the seizure of consignment as they are getting a huge amount of production of the world’s two most expensive drugs: Cocaine and Heroin," the official claimed.
Meanwhile, Indian Intelligence agencies have circulated probable routes which these dealers take to transport drugs. Routes have been circulated with all agencies to curb Narcoterrorism.