Massive Drug Seizure in Kochi Reveals Pakistani Cartel’s Involvement

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In a significant operation conducted by the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) and the Navy off the coast of Kochi, a staggering 2,525 kg of “high-purity methamphetamine” was seized. The seized drugs, initially estimated to be worth Rs 12,000 crore in the illegal market, were later reassessed by NCB sources to have a revised market value of Rs 25,000 crore, making it the largest drug seizure in India’s history.

The NCB revealed that the drugs were sourced from Jiwani, a port town in the Balochistan province of Pakistan, near the Iranian border. The consignment was intended for distribution in India, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, and Seychelles. A 29-year-old Pakistani national, associated with the Haji Salim drug cartel, was arrested in connection with the case. This marks the first time an Indian agency has intercepted a “mothership,” a large vessel transporting significant quantities of drugs.

NCB sources disclosed that the methamphetamine, known for its addictive properties, was sourced from local laboratories in Jiwani, where pseudoephedrine, a key component of methamphetamine production, is readily available. The drugs were packed in packets and loaded onto small ferries, which would then transfer them to motherships waiting in international waters. This intercepted mothership had been at sea for at least 45 days before being seized.

During the operation, the mothership was sunk, but the drugs were successfully retrieved. The detained Pakistani national was found in a speedboat near the mothership. While no weapons were recovered, a GPS tracker was discovered. NCB officials emphasized that the seizure highlights the increasing demand for methamphetamine in the drug market, as it is becoming a popular alternative to ganja and is often referred to as the “poor man’s cocaine.”

The NCB’s operation, named “Samudragupt,” which began in January 2022, focuses on combatting maritime drug trafficking originating from Afghanistan. This seizure marks the third major operation related to maritime trafficking through the southern route in the past 18 months. The NCB coordinated efforts with various agencies, including the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad, the Navy’s intelligence wing, and the National Technical Research Organisation.

The massive drug seizure in Kochi exposes the involvement of the Pakistan-based Haji Salim drug cartel and underscores the challenges posed by transnational drug trafficking. It highlights the need for continued cooperation among law enforcement agencies to combat drug networks and safeguard communities from the harmful effects of narcotics.