How Gujarat Port Remains Hot Transit Point For Drug Smugglers With Latest Seizure From Mundra

Frequency of drug delivery India After the massive drug seizure at Mundra port last year, Gujarat has not seen any decline through Gujarat, despite its strict monitoring by agencies.

Recently Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) has seized drugs worth Rs 350 crore and the operation is still going on.

According to sources, the consignment reached Mundra port from Dubai but officials believe that it originated from Afghanistan.

The consignment was parked at a port facility where other temporary deliveries were being placed after customs clearance. It is expected that an insider may have played a key role in facilitating the drugs. It is also expected that the seizure volume may increase until the operation is over.

In April, the ATS along with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) had seized heroin worth Rs 1,300 crore from the Kandla port.

Similarly, in the world’s biggest heroin seizure at Mundra port last year, agencies had seized narcotics worth Rs 21,000 crore.

Importantly, like the recent Mundra port consignment, another package of medicines worth crores of rupees was safely taken out without any indication to the government officials posted at the airport. This was a major lapse of the agencies posted at Mundra port.

The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is jointly probing the cases of consignments brought from Mundra port last year, is also looking into the matter.

Drug smugglers are fearlessly transporting drugs through containers, and have made ports a new playground for smuggling. It is emerging as the biggest threat to narco-terrorism as the containers carry huge quantity of drugs and a single lapse of port authorities gives crores of profits to the peddlers.

Since 2020, intelligence agencies are tackling the new trend, posing a challenge to security agencies guarding virtual borders. The bulk of the transportation started last year during the first lockdown imposed due to the outbreak of Kovid-19.

However, the agencies deployed at the port also say that they have poor facilities and some of them are working in bad conditions.

According to the home ministry, the condition of the other 21 port Integrated Check Posts (ICPs), which are manned by state government personnel, is worse than the Bureau of Immigration (BoI)-controlled ICPs. Although BoI has supplied necessary technical items at these port ICPs, for example, computers, webcams, space provided to immigration personnel and infrastructure is totally inadequate.

“In the recent past, there has been strong pressure on the BoI from port trusts and tour operators to carry out immigration work at berths where no leased line connectivity exists, which is non-negotiable as data flows from the main server located in Delhi. Without security vetting and immigration clearance cannot be done,” says the MHA.

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