Explained: Heroin seized in Arabian Sea as Afghanistan fell to Taliban
3,000 kg of heroin have recently been seized at the port of Mundra in a shipment from Kandahar. These seizures of ships in the Arabian Sea increased in the months leading up to the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, and since. Looked:
1. Delhi and Noida
January 24: 8 kg of heroin worth Rs 68 crore seized by customs at IGI airport; two Ugandan nationals arrested
May 9: 125 kg of heroin reportedly seized from Afghan couple living in Delhi
September 28: As part of the investigations into the seizure of Mundra, 16.1 kg of heroin from a shopping center in Delhi, 11 kg of a substance suspected of being heroin and 10.2 kg of powder suspected of ‘be cocaine, from a house in Noida
2. Off the coast of Kerala
March 20 & April 19: 300 kg of heroin seized by BCN from a Sri Lankan fishing vessel, followed by the seizure of 340 kg of heroin concealed in another Sri Lankan fishing vessel; both shipments were reportedly received from a larger Iranian vessel
3. Off Oman
April 23 & 24: Canadian warship, member of Combined Maritime Forces coalition, seizes 1,286 kg of heroin and 360 kg of methamphetamine from two fishing boats; valued at $ 23 million.
May 7: 15.6 kg of heroin seized at Chennai International Airport from two Tanzanian nationals
5. Navi Bombay
1st of July: 300 kg of heroin seized from two containers at the port of Nhava Sheva in Navi Mumbai; containers supposedly from Iran and imported from Afghanistan to India; foreclosure valued at Rs 2000 crore
6. Off the coast of Sri Lanka
August 30 – September 10: The Sri Lankan Navy intercepts three fishing vessels carrying heroin worth SLR 7 billion.
September 11th: In Mundra, 3,000 kg of heroin seized from two containers in a shipment of talc from Kandahar and shipped from the port of Bandar Abbas in Iran.
September 18: Off the coast of Porbandar, a fishing boat seized with 30 kg of heroin; he had left from the port of Konarak in Iran.
Heroin, Afghanistan and the Taliban
Covid and seizures
The closures, including on global air and sea traffic, resulted in fewer seizures in 2020 than in 2019 (see chart based on the USODC report) and smaller individual seizures. But poppy cultivation, harvesting and heroin manufacturing have not been affected by the pandemic.
In 2021, the number of seizures and their scale have increased, especially since April. The regularity of larger shipments may reflect the effect of uncertainties in Afghanistan after US President Joe Biden announced the departure of troops by August 31.
Poppy cultivation is controlled by the Taliban and was one of their main sources of income during the fight against the Americans. Recent seizures may indicate that unions are trying to eliminate large quantities. We still do not know what place poppy cultivation will have in the Taliban regime.
The seizure at Mundra
What we know
- The official importers of the shipment of 40,940 kg of “semi-processed talc stones” in two containers, in which the heroin was hidden, were Machavaram Sudhakar and his wife Vaisali who ran the company Aashi Trading, Vijayawada, which was operating. under the import and export code AOTPG6030R, registered with the DGFT under the supervision of the Ministry of Commerce. The couple are questioned; nine people were arrested.
- DRI says the couple imported a similar shipment in June from the same supplier, Hasan Husain in Afghanistan; it was sent to a certain Kuldeep Singh in Delhi by customs.
- Both shipments arrived at Mundra, the country’s largest commercial port, which, along with the adjoining SEZ, is managed by the Adani Group. The Adani group said it had no role in examining the containers that arrived at the port.
What we don’t do
- Where was the shipment of nearly 3,000 kg of heroin headed?
- Why was the Bandar Abbas container unloaded in Mundra while the importing company is in Andhra, which has four ports?
- Did the port operator APSEZ play a role? The NDPS Special Court in Bhuj has requested an investigation into whether Adani profited from this importation.
- Did the June batch of “semi-processed talc stones” also contain contraband?
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