The Indian Coast Guard and Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) have seized another Sri Lankan boat carrying 300 kilograms of heroin, five AK-47 guns and ammunition, off the coast of Vizhinjam in Kerala, Indian officials said today.
Earlier, a boat was was seized on 18 March with 19 crew members from which arms and narcotics were seized.
The NCB said that six Sri Lankan nationals on the boat named ‘Ravihansi’, heading to Sri Lanka were arrested on March 25.
The Indian Coast Guard intercepted the Sri Lankan fishing vessel, Ravihansi, in Indian waters off the coast of Vizhinjam in Kerala, based on specific intelligence received by the Indian Coast Guard and NCB.
Officials seized 300.323 kg of heroin along with five AK-47 rifles and 1,000 rounds of 9mm ammunition from the boat. “A number of incriminating documents were also seized from the occupants of the vessel,” said the NCB. The heroin was found concealed inside the water tank of the vessel in 301 packets. The symbol of a flying horse was found on all the heroin packets, which is a usual practice of drug trafficking syndicates to brand their drugs, said the NCB.
Investigations so far indicate that an unknown vessel carried the heroin and arms consignment from Chabahar Port, Iran and handed over the same to the Sri Lankan fishing boat, Ravihansi, in the high seas near Lakshadweep. Ravihansi then attempted to traffick the consignment to Sri Lanka when the Indian authorities intercepted it. The vessel was brought to Vizhinjam Harbour, following which the NCB Chennai Zonal Unit took custody of the boat. The NCB arrested all six Sri Lankan crew members — LY Nandana, HKGB Dassppriya, AHS Gunasekara, SA Senarath, T Ranasingha and D Nissanka — on March 27 and remanded them to judicial custody.
According to the NCB, the intelligence inputs and the investigations so far indicate that a Pakistan-based drug trafficking network is involved in the current seizure. There have been seizures of huge quantity heroin in the Arabian Sea, by both Indian as well as other enforcement agencies, which are believed to have been trafficked by the same network. “This seizure also unveils the nexus between narcotics trafficking and extremist elements,” said the NCB in their statement. (Colombo Gazette)