Mundra drug haul: Head of Afghan cartel in DRI net

LUCKNOW: A fortnight after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) seized nearly 3,000 kg of Afghan heroin worth approximately Rs 21,000 crore from two containers at Mundra port in Gujarat, in a joint operation, DRI’s Lucknow and Noida units arrested the head of the drug cartel in India from Shimla.
The accused was arrested with his aide, an Afghan interpreter, by Lucknow and Nodia regional units’ teams late Monday night. Both were brought to Noida on Wednesday and presented before a magistrate and sent to jail.
According to officials, eight drug mules, including four Afghan nationals and an Uzbek woman, were arrested last week from whom DRI got specific input that the head of the drug cartel in India had escaped to Himachal.
“After extensive digital surveillance and monitoring, the accused was traced in Shimla. He came to India last year after lockdown, while his Afghan interpreter aide had been staying in the country for nearly five years. During interrogation, the prime accused claimed to be a former member of an Afghan security enforcement agency and said he supervised the drug trade operations in the country and money transactions,” said the source.
DRI sleuths said the accused was familiar with India as he had visited the country several times.
“The four Afghan nationals arrested earlier from the national capital region were drug mules, who posed as street vendors selling dry fruits, but sold heroin in pubs, clubs and parties. One kg of heroine fetched up to Rs 7 crore,” the source said. The Uzbek woman was a dancer, who used her rich clients to sell drugs in parties and pubs,” the source further said.
DRI also seized Rs 70 crore worth of heroin, cocaine and other contraband from the accused and booked him under NDPS Act.
“Money earned from the drug trade was channeled back to the kingpin, a former dry fruit exporter in Afghanistan, through the hawala network. The dirty money was directly and indirectly used to sabotage the sovereignty and security of India,” said sources.
Meanwhile, the special Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances (NDPS) court in Gujarat directed DRI to investigate if the “Mundra Adani Port, its management and authority gained any benefits from the import of the 2988.22 kg heroin seized by DRI on September 15.”
The consignment was imported from Iran’s Bandar Abbas Port by Aarshi Trading company based in Satyanarayanapuram on the outskirts of Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh. The firm’s owners Machavaram Sudhakar and his wife Govindaraju Durga Purna Vaishali were arrested by DRI.

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