With heightened vigil, restructuring of drug law enforcement agencies, contraband seizures in India has doubled, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) said. The bureau, headed by IPS officer Rakesh Asthana, also said there is considerable increase in maritime drug trafficking across South Asia region and it needs to be dealt with proper coordination between neighbouring countries.
The bureau made the revelation before BIMSTEC countries members during two-day conference on Combating Drug Trafficking. In 2019, a total 2,448 kilogramme of Heroin was seized compared to 1,258 kg in 2018.
Similarly, in 2019, the total seizure of opium was 7,317 kg and in 2018, it was recorded 4,307 kg. In 2019, the sleuths seized 58 kg of Cocaine and in 2018 it was 35 kg, the Deputy Director-General Rajesh Nandan Shrivastva from NCB told the delegates from BIMSTEC countries.
BIMSTEC (The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) is an international organisation of seven nations of South Asia and South East Asia.The officer said that there is considerable increase in maritime trafficking of heroin. On January 6, 2020, the bureau has done seizure of 35 kg of heroin from a boat off the Gujarat (western) coast.
On May 20, 2019, the bureau had done a seizure of 218 kg of heroin from a boat off the Gujarat (western) coast. Again in March 2019, the bureau seized 100 kg of heroin from a boat in Gujarat and in 2017, the seizure of 1445 kg of heroin from MV Henry was again done in Gujarat, he said.
Shrivastva also pointed out that maritime heroin trafficking has a common link to entire South Asian Region. He said that in November 2019, seizure of 224 kg of heroin by Sri Lanka was done on the basis of Indian intelligence inputs.
Similarly, in October 2019, seizure of 150 kg of heroin from a boat in Maldives was carried out after India intelligence shared the inputs. In July and August in 2019, seizure of 155 kg heroin from a boat in Sri Lanka, was carried out on the basis of information passed on by India, he pointed.
Another concern from the drug law enforcement agencies is the trafficking of heroin from Myanmar to India. In March 2019, seizure of 44.5 kg heroin (Rs 180 crore) in Delhi was sourced from Myanmar. In April 2019, again seizure of 50 kg heroin (Rs 200 crore) in Delhi was sourced from Myanmar.
The officer stressed that the drug traffickers are exploiting the trade route for smuggling of heroin across the region. Shrivastva highlighted that there is increase in seizures after formation of Joint Consultative Committee (JCC) under Director General Rakesh Asthana.
The committee monitors all aspects of major drug cases including linkage to other forms of organized crimes such as insurgent activity and money laundering. The panel assigns leads to appropriate agency and ensures timely investigation and prosecution. The panel also works to identify networks, especially those with cross border linkages.