Kochi, May 13, 2023 - The Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the Indian Navy, in a joint operation, seized narcotics weighing around 2,500 kg from a ship at an undisclosed location in the Indian waters. The contraband – high-purity methamphetamine, also called crystal meth – valued at around Rs 12,000 crore was displayed in Kochi. It is the biggest drug haul in the country in terms of the monetary value of the seized substance, according to NCB.
One person, suspected to be a Pakistan national, was arrested by the agencies and an investigation is on. The contraband, stuffed in 134 plastic sacs, was seized from an unnamed vessel – referred to as mother ship in NCB parlance – which was intercepted by the agencies off Kochi waters.
The seizure was part of Operation Samudragupt which targets ships carrying narcotic contraband through the Indian Ocean region. Mother Ships are large sea-going vessels carrying large quantities of narcotic contrabands to be distributed to receiving vessels over the route.
The officers did not reveal the details of the intercepted mother ship. It is not clear if it is in the custody of the agencies.
Sanjay Kumar Singh, deputy director general (ops), NCB, said some of the seized packets carried ‘made in Pakistan’ seals. He said the substances were meant to be distributed in India, Sri Lanka and Maldives.
“We are determined to carry out operations to clean the Indian Ocean Region from boats carrying drugs,” Singh, who heads the Operation Samudragupt told reporters at a press briefing. The agencies acted on a tip-off about the movement of the ship carrying a huge quantity of methamphetamine from the Makran coast off Baluchistan. The recovered sacks, the detained person, the intercepted boat and some other items seized from the mother ship were brought to Mattancherry Wharf in Kochi on Saturday and handed over to NCB for further action.
After Operation Samudragupt was launched in January 2022, the NCB and the Navy seized approximately 3,200 kg of methamphetamine, 500 kg of heroin and 529 kg of hashish in various raids. Apart from NCB operations, inputs shared with Sri Lanka and Maldives also resulted in seizures.
The seizure is a major blow to the drug trafficking network operating in the Indian Ocean region. It is also a significant achievement for the NCB and the Indian Navy, who have been working together to combat drug trafficking in the region.
The NCB has urged the public to come forward with any information about drug trafficking activities. They can contact the NCB on their toll-free number 1800-222-1919.