Tribune News Service
New Delhi, December 22
The Coast Guard has seized a vessel carrying more than 300 kg of a banned drug worth millions of dollars in the international market.
The vessel with six Myanmar nationals on board was apprehended east of the Andaman and Nicobar islands. The ship was towed into Port Blair on Sunday morning.
“A team of the Narcotics Control Bureau from Kolkata carried out the preliminary investigation and reported that the substance is believed to be banned drug Methaqualone,” the coast guard said in a statement. The drug is known to be depressant of the central nervous system and a popular recreational drug which has a sedative-hypnotic effect.
The operation started on December 20 noon when a Coast Guard Dornier aircraft sighted a non-Indian vessel operating east of little Andaman. The vessel was not responding on open radio. ICGS Aruna Asaf Ali, a ship on patrol, was diverted for investigation.
Around 6 pm the same day, Aruna Asaf Ali’s crew sighted the boat 125 nautical miles from nearest land, Little Andaman. The vessel failed to stop on being challenged by the ship. The ship fired three warning shorts in air and forced the vessel to stop.
The ship’s boarding party embarked the vessel which was found to be of Myanmarese origin. Since the vessel was plying in Indian waters carrying suspected contraband, the vessel was apprehended along with its crew.
A total of 250 packets weighing 1 kg each and 106 packets weighing 500 gm each were recovered. The total contraband weighed 303 kg. Each packet contains suspicious white crystalline substance. The ship had carried out preliminary investigation with the available drug detection kit and found that the substance is banned drug Methaqualone.
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