Porbandar: Nine suspected smugglers from Iran were allegedly caught by the Gujarat Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS), Marine Task Force and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) on Wednesday morning. In the joint mid-sea operation, 100 kg of heroin was seized which is suspected to have been supplied from Pakistan to a receiver in Gujarat. The narcotics drugs were smuggled in Gujarat through the sea.

With prior information on the smuggling plan, the ATS officials had immediately shared the tip-off to the Indian Coast Guard and Marine Task Force. Soon a joint operation was launched to catch the smugglers who had allegedly smuggled in a dhow of Iran, which will be loaded in Pakistan. The officers of ATS began their search operation after boarding the Indian Coast Guard’s Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV). The Marine Task Force commandos were in their boats at the territorial waters to help in the joint operation.

ATS officials were quoted by a leading daily as saying, “The information was limited and only communication frequency was known to identify the smuggler’s boat. After more than 24 hours of search, a suspicious boat was identified while making attempt to communicate in the particular frequency.” The officials added that when apprehension became inevitable, the crew set the boat on fire in order to destroy the evidence. Great risk was undertaken by the officers and personnel of the ICG ship with the help of ATS officers to apprehend the nine smugglers. After the fire, the ICG ship tried to douse the flames. However, the fire was uncontrollable due to the presence of 24,000 litres of fuel and few gas cylinders. Eventually, the boat sank.