According to the most recent annual report of NCB, drug trafficking through sea routes in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, which is thought to account for over 70% of the total amount of illegal drugs imported into India, presents a significant problem for law enforcement agencies.
According to the most recent annual report of the Narcotics Control Bureau, drug trafficking through sea routes in the Arabian Sea and the Bay of Bengal, which is thought to account for roughly 70% of all illegal drugs smuggled into India, presents a significant challenge for law enforcement agencies (NCB). International drug trafficking organizations with bases in Pakistan and Afghanistan are predicted to employ maritime routes more frequently, the report stated.
“Interception of maritime drug trafficking, especially in the western region of India, has witnessed an increase. Most of such seizures are sourced from the ports of Afghanistan and Iran, which are destined to coastal states in India or are in further transit to countries like Sri Lanka, Maldives, etc,” the annual report said.
According to the research, heroin is the substance that is most commonly trafficked via the maritime route, but ATS (amphetamine type stimulants), marijuana, cocaine, and other drugs are also among those that have been seized.
The Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence (DRI), at Mundra port in September 2021, seized 2,988 kg of Afghan heroin valued at $21,000 crore (on the black market). In April 2021, the DRI at Tuticorin port seized 303 kg of cocaine. In March and April 2021, the NCB seized 300 kg and 337 kg of heroin from two Sri Lankan boats.
Apart from the sea route, the use of couriers, parcels and postal services to smuggle drugs has gone up significantly in past two years – 300% in 2020 and 200% last year compared to 2019, the NCB report said. The increased use of couriers or postal services is also directly linked to increased dark web activity in India, the report added.
The quantum of drugs in parcels is usually in few grams to avoid suspicion and interception by law enforcement agencies.
The report also stated that marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ATS (amphetamine type stimulants), and other drugs were among those seized. Heroin is the drug that is most commonly trafficked via the sea route.
“Smuggling of cocaine (which originates mainly in South America) is done by African nationals in India and most seizures have been made at airports. There are many instances of small quantities of cocaine being trafficked through parcels, concealed in cosmetics, utensils, books and clothing,” the NCB report said. It mentioned a trend of trafficking of cocaine in liquid form as well.
The Directorate of Revenue and Intelligence (DRI) at Mundra port in September 2021 discovered 2,988 kg of Afghan heroin valued at $21,000 crore (on the black market); the DRI discovered 303 kg of cocaine in April 2021 at Tuticorin port; and the NCB discovered 300 kg and 337 kg of heroin from two Sri Lankan boats in March and April of the same year.
Only 67 instances of drug-filled packages were discovered in India in 2019.