India arrests six Pakistani nationals with heroin in the Arabian Sea

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Indian authorities arrested six Pakistani nationals and seized heroin worth tens of millions of dollars from a Pakistani fishing boat in the Arabian Sea near the western state of Gujarat, officials said on Saturday.

“The heroin seized was smuggled from Afghanistan and the Pakistani men arrested are being questioned to understand the modus operandi,” Deepan Bhadran, a senior Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) official in Gujarat state, said of the Friday night seizure.

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Officials estimated the street value of the 50 kg (110 pounds) of heroin at 3.5 billion Indian rupees ($42 million).

Pakistani authorities were not immediately available to comment on the arrests.

India is part of a transit route in the lucrative drug smuggling trade, due to its proximity to Afghanistan, the world's largest producer of opium, from which heroin is made.

ATS officials and a team from the Indian Coast Guard deployed two interceptor-class ships close to the international maritime border to track the boat in Indian waters after an intelligence input.

A more assertive Indian approach has led to several raids and drug seizures. India seized $2.7 billion worth of heroin from Afghanistan at a port in Gujarat in September 2021 and made a smaller seizure last month.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime says large shipments of Afghan heroin are smuggled across the Indian Ocean to east and southern Africa.

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