Taliban’s attempt to smuggle heroin worth Rs. 21,000 crore foiled by Indian intelligence agency

As soon as Taliban took over Afghanistan, warning bells started to ring for India. According to latest reports, almost three tonnes of heroin were seized at the Mundra port in Gujarat. Surely, if this amount of heroin had found its way into the country, it would have had disastrous consequences.

The heroin was first transported to Iran. Over there, it was shipped from Bandar Abbas port to Delhi (some media outlets have incorrectly reported Vijaywada) as talc stones. It is alleged that they were addressed to M. Sudhakar and his wife Durga Vaishali but the matter is still pending in court.


The operation was executed by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI). They claimed that they had received reliable intelligence about the consignment. “When our officers detained the consignment and examined it, suspected narcotic drugs were recovered from the containers and the presence of heroin was confirmed. Investigations conducted so far have also revealed the involvement of Afghan nationals, who are under investigation,” the agency said in a statement.


Each kg of heroin was worth Rs. 7 crore in the international market taking the total price of the consignment to Rs. 21,000 crore. In the recent past, DRI has also seized two large consignments at Navi Mumbai’s Nhava Sheva port. One of them weighed 193 kg and the other weighed 200 kg. Those are tiny amounts compared to the drug haul at Mundra port.


Afghanistan is responsible for more than 80% of opium production (which gets processed into heroin) in the world. In a 2020 survey conducted by United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, it was estimated that as much as 6300 tonnes of opium was cultivated in Afghanistan.


This explains how Taliban gets the funds to operate and carry out terrorist activities. “Despite the Western presence that ended this month, and despite dropping prices, latest estimates show production at record levels. Meanwhile, bigger profit margins on crystal meth are driving an Afghan boom in the cultivation of its origin ephedra plant too,” a report in Politico said.


The Urruda take


Heroin is one of the most addictive drugs and is often sold in the form of a white or brown powder. It is usually injected, smoked or snorted through the nose. Since users are often unaware about the potency of the drug, fatal overdoses can happen.


In India, some states like Punjab are already reeling from the effects of the drug. It’s critical that our intelligence agencies are able to track every illicit consignment to protect our citizens (especially the youth) from this menace.


References:


1. Mundra Port: Nearly three tonnes of heroin seized at Gujarat port (BBC)

2. Pakistan-Taliban Drug Nexus? Dispatched from Kandahar, 'Talc' Worth Rs 21,000 Cr Seized in Gujarat (News18)

3. Afghanistan Opium Survey 2020 (UNODC)

4. Afghanistan: How much opium is produced and what's the Taliban's record? (BBC)