Nearly three tonnes of heroin with a street value of $2.7bn (£2bn) from Afghanistan have been seized from a western Indian port in a major bust, officials said.
Two Indians were arrested after the heroin, which was kept in two containers marked as carrying talc, was found by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) at Mundra Port in the western state of Gujarat, the government agency said.
The consignment – with one container carrying nearly 2,000kg of heroin and another holding nearly 1,000kg – originated from Afghanistan and was shipped from a port in Iran to Gujarat, the DRI said.
“Searches have been conducted in Ahmedabad, Delhi, Chennai, Gandhidham and Mandvi in Gujarat,” the agency said in a statement.
It added that the shipment was estimated to be worth 200bn rupees ($2.7bn).
The investigation also allegedly uncovered the involvement of Afghan nationals, the DRI said, although no one else has been arrested so far.
Afghanistan is the world’s biggest producer of heroin, supplying between 80-90% of global output.
Heroin production has boomed in Afghanistan in recent years, helping fund the Taliban which returned to power in August.
Efforts by the US and the international community to control the country’s heroin trade over many years have been largely unsuccessful.
At the same time, the Taliban’s return to power has placed more strain on the country’s already dire economic situation.
The economy was hugely reliant on international donors that had a stake in the previous government. Foreign aid and development assistance made up more than 42% of Afghanistan’s GDP last year and funded three-quarters of public expenditure.
But many of those donors are unwilling to offer support to the Taliban, making the economic outlook even more uncertain.
Source: The Guardian.