"A suspicious Pakistani boat was identified"
Five Pakistani men were arrested on January 6, 2020, for being in possession of Rs. 175 Crore (£18.5 million) worth of heroin.
They were caught near the Gujarat coast as they intended to bring the drugs into India on a fishing boat.
The men were arrested by the Gujarat Police’s Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), in a joint operation with the Indian Coast Guard (ICG).
Police officers said that action was taken following reports they received of a large shipment of drugs being transported from Pakistan into India.
In a statement, the ATS said: “The Anti-Terrorism Squad, Gujarat, had got credible information that an illegal consignment of narcotic drugs, heroin, was going to be smuggled into Gujarat through the coast.”
Officers then contacted the ICG and a joint operation was launched.
A senior officer said: “The information further revealed that the consignment is being sent in a Pakistani fishing boat from Pakistan.”
Intercepting boats were sent from the district of Kutch when they discovered the smuggler’s boat was located northwest of Jakhau.
“Commandos of the marine task force were kept in boats in Indian waters to help in apprehending the smugglers.”
The officer added: “A suspicious Pakistani boat was identified at the said location in Indian waters.
“The Indian Coast Guard interceptor boats stealthily started following the boat, and at the opportune moment, officers and marine commandos and with ATS officers successfully boarded the suspicious boat.”
Upon intercepting the boat, officers boarded the vessel and discovered thirty-five packets of heroin, weighing a total of 35 kilograms.
It was revealed that the Class A drugs were worth approximately Rs. 175 Crore on the international market.
The five Pakistani men were arrested. They were identified as Anees Isa Bhatti, aged 30, Ismail Mohammed Kachchi, aged 50, Ashhraf Usman Kutchhi, aged 42, Kareem Abdulla Kutchhi, aged 37, and Abubaqar Ashraf Sumra, aged 55.
The suspects are all residents of Beet Zajeera in Karachi.
Following their arrests, Gujarat DGP Shivanand Jha said:
“We are committed to thwart attempts to smuggle narcotics in the state and well prepared to face any challenge in front of coastal security of 1600 Km long coast.
“Anti-Terrorist Gujarat, in a joint operation with Indian Coast Guard caught 5 Pakistani nationals with heroin worth Rs. 175 Cr.”
The suspects are being questioned at a police station in Kutch as to their reason for smuggling a large quantity of drugs.
Police are also working to find out if they are part of an organised crime group.
Another officer added: “The interrogation of the apprehended accused persons is in progress jointly by all agencies.”