India’s west coast is reportedly the new ‘favorite’ for Pakistan-based drug cartels to traffic drugs to Canada, Europe, and the United States. According to a report by Asian Times, the 1,600-kilometre coastline of Gujarat state is the principal location to smuggle drugs because of its vast territory covered with hundreds of unmanned piers. Moreover, since July 2018, Indian agencies have caught over 2,200 kgs of heroin in Gujarat’s coast, worth approximately Rs 60 billion, all associated with Pakistan and Afghanistan-based drug cartels.
Gujarat reportedly became a favored spot because other conventional routes, just like the one neighboring Iran, shut down after worldwide authorities contracted acuity. Earlier, the drug cartels chose what they call the Golden Crescent—referring to Asia’s two vital opium-producing regions, which overlie Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran—to traffic drugs to the West. But this has now come under a close watch from oceanic task forces of countries such as Australia and the US.
This has been leading to Pakistani cartels frequently looking to India as a trade route.
According to a report published by The Times of India, examples like a drug bust of 1,450 cocaine tablets at Ahmedabad’s international airport a few months ago show that dealers are frequently using Gujarat, by both air and sea, as their entry point to India. The biggest image saw 1,500 kgs of heroin worth Rs 45 billion getting caught from the ship-breaking yard of Alang, which, a Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) official told in a press report, came from Pakistan.
Reports also point out that the bumper opium crop harvest of approximately 10,000 tons in Afghanistan this year—the highest over the last few years—may have stimulated the drug trafficking cases.
“We only know about the large seizures,” said the NCB official.
“If a fisherman brings 5 kgs of heroin along with 500 kgs of fish in his boat, it is very difficult to catch him. Despite the presence of the Coast Guard and Navy, it is not possible to track all the boats, especially Indian fishing boats.”