Jan 22, Colombo: Two Sri Lankan nationals have been arrested and about 100 kg of heroin worth an estimated 10 billion Indian rupees seized as part of a probe involving a trans-border drugs-trafficking racket, the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) of India said on Friday.
MMM Nawas and Mohamed Afnas were arrested from Chennai in Tamil Nadu, where they were living by concealing their real identities, and the drugs syndicate that they masterminded has its tentacles spread across Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran, Sri Lanka, the Maldives and Australia, the NCB said in a statement.
The arrests and the subsequent seizure of about 100 kg of heroin in Sri Lanka, valued at about ₹ 10 billion in the international market, came about after the NCB and its counterparts in the neighboring country joined hands to probe a November, 2020 heroin seizure from a Sri Lankan fishing vessel, "Shenaya Duwa", in the territorial waters of India, NDTV reported.
The NCB and the Indian Coast Guard intercepted the vessel near the Tuticorin Port and a search of it led to the recovery of 95.87 kg of heroin, 18.32 kg of methamphetamine, five pistols and magazines.
Six Sri Lankan crew members of the vessel were arrested and they are in judicial custody at present.
"Fully aware of the larger international linkages, especially with those of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan, we started probing every available thread in the case and soon it was found that two of the main conspirators in the case have been living in Chennai," NCB Deputy Director (Operations) K P S Malhotra said on the recent arrests.
Both Nawas and Afnas held "important positions" in the multi-national heroin syndicate, he said.
"They were controlling the mid-sea pickup and delivery of narcotic drugs from Pakistani and Iranian vessels. Both fled Sri Lanka when the authorities of that country closed in on them.