NCB busts international drug ring run by Taliban, ISI

Heroin from Afghanistan is smuggled into Pakistan by the Taliban and ISI and then shipped out from the Karachi port in fishing vessels to Sri Lanka, Maldives and Australia.

Published: 23rd January 2021 06:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd January 2021 06:07 AM   |  A+A-

Drugs, pistols and cell phones seized by the NCB in November | EXPRESS

Express News Service

BENGALURU: In a major exposé, the Narcotics Control Bureau has unearthed an international narcotic drugs syndicate which is allegedly run jointly by the Taliban, Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam and also has roots in Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Australia and the Maldives. “Because of heavy troop deployment along the international borders, narcotic drugs are being smuggled by sea.

Heroin from Afghanistan is smuggled into Pakistan by the Taliban and ISI and then shipped out from the Karachi port in fishing vessels to Sri Lanka, Maldives and Australia. The other route takes the contraband drugs to Mozambique.

Iranian boats are often exploited by this network. The precursor chemicals used for the production of heroin, especially acetic anhydrite, is transited to Afghanistan from Iran,” said Deputy Director, Operations, NCB, K P S Malhotra.

“A lot of mid-sea transfer takes place in territorial waters of India or very near to its territorial waters. The crosscontinent illicit drug trade has some Pakistani, Sri Lankan and Indian nationals, who are arrested and jailed on drug trafficking charges in Sri Lanka and lodged in prisons there. They are involved in the coordination of the drugs movement, primarily heroin, from Afghanistan,” he said.

NCB shared intel with Sri Lanka

The NCB, Chennai zone on Friday arrested two Sri Lankan nationals — M M M Nawas and Mohamed Afnas — from Chennai. “The duo (allegedly) holds important positions in the multinational heroin syndicate and control the mid-sea pick-up and delivery of narcotic drugs from Pakistani and Iranian vessels,” Malhotra added. Nawas allegedly confessed that he had links with the LTTE. He had come to India 10 years ago and has been living in Chennai since then. Afnas had infiltrated into India by boat in 2018. He came to Chennai from Rameshwaram.

Both have been living in India without valid passports. On November 26 last year, the NCB, in a joint operation with the Coast Guard, had detained a Sri Lankan fishing vessel, ‘Shenaya Duwa’, in Indian waters near the Tuticorin Port and had seized 95.875 kg of heroin and 18.325 kg of methamphetamine from it. Besides drugs, they had also seized five pistols and magazines from the possession of the vessel crew. The six-member crew, all Sri Lankan nationals, were arrested and are now in judicial custody. “We had been working on leads for more than one-and-ahalf years. Our Intelligence shared with the Sri Lankan authorities has led to the seizure of 100 kg of heroin,” Malhotra added. The total worth of seized contraband seized by the NCB is pegged at around Rs 1,000 crore.


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