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The heroin seized from an Iranian fishing boat apprehended off the Gujarat coast was meant to be delivered to Punjab via sea routes from Gujarat or Maharashtra, the Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) said on Monday.

The Iranian boat loaded with 30-kg heroin worth Rs 150 crore in the international markets and seven crew members were apprehended in Indian waters off the Gujarat coast, in an operation carried out jointly by the state ATS and the Coast Guard, officials had said on Sunday.

The apprehended boat "Jumma", which was brought to Porbandar on Monday, belongs to an Iranian drug mafia Imam Baksh. It carried a huge consignment of heroin loaded within the Pakistan maritime border by drug mafia Gulam which was initially meant to be smuggled to Sri Lanka, the Gujarat ATS said in a release.

"When the boat was on its way to Sri Lanka, the seven Iranian crew members onboard received instructions from Baksh through a satellite phone about a change in the plan. He told the crew members that he was making arrangements for the contraband to be delivered to Punjab via either Gujarat or Maharashtra coast," it said.

The crew members were asked to wait until further instructions, when acting on a tip-off, the Gujarat ATS contacted the Indian Coast Guard (ICG). The ICG interceptor set off to nab the boat and its crew members from a distance of around 185 nautical miles off the Porbandar coast, the ATS said.

When the ATS received a tip-off about the boat, a team left for Porbandar where it contacted higher officials of the ICG.

"A team of the Coast Guard left on an interceptor boat and around 185 nautical miles off the Porbandar coast they found Iranian boat 'Jumma' and seven Iranian nationals, identified as Ibrahim Bakshi, Ismael Prididi, Abdul Sattar, Rahim Bakshi, Khalid Mohammad, Door Mohammad, Hamidullah Bakshi," it said.

The ATS said the initial questioning of the apprehended crew members revealed that the owner of the boat had been involved in the delivery of drugs to Muscat, Yaman, Tanzania, Zanzibar, etc in the past.

The ATS said it had seized around 700 kg of contraband being delivered through sea routes along the Gujarat coast between August 2018 and 2021 whose estimated cost in the international markets is Rs 3,500 crore.

The ATS had arrested Pakistani, Iranian and Afghani nationals involved in smuggling and their counterparts in India, it said.
 

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