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Indian Coast Guard seizes Sri Lankan ship for drug trafficking

Indian Coast Guard seizes Sri Lankan ship for drug trafficking (IANS)

Fearing apprehension, a Sri Lankan fishing ship dumped 260 kg of contraband which it was carrying in the Lakshadweep sea, the Indian Coast Guard said after successfully averting a major drug transshipment through the sea route.

The coastal security forces detained six crew members for the interrogation.

"The value of these narcotics in international market is approximately Rs 2,100 crore," Indian Coast Guard said in a statement on Monday.

The coast guard ships and aircraft while on patrol off the Lakshadweep islands observed suspicious movements of three Sri Lankan fishing boats.

The boats were continuously monitored by the coast guards units and were subsequently intercepted and checked at the opportune moment.

Initial investigation revealed that Sri Lankan fishing boat Akarsha Duwa was at sea for longer duration of over a fortnight.

"Inconsistent information received and abnormal behaviour of crew further raised the suspicion level," the Coast guarding force said.

As the crew were giving misleading statements, they were interrogated tactfully upon which the crew admitted having been involved in smuggling of narcotics and contraband.

While en-route, the crew noticed presence of Indian Coast Guard ships and aircraft in the area.

"With the fear of getting apprehended, the crew decided to flee the area. However, on realizing that fleeing from ICG ships was impossible, they dropped five bags of contraband weighing around 260 kg of narcotics in water," the force said.

Due to rough sea conditions off Minicoy Islands the boats were brought to Vizhinjam near Thiruvananthapuram on Sunday for further interrogation by the concerned security agencies.

Post rummaging and joint investigation at Vizhinjam, SLFB Akarsha Duwa along with six Sri Lankan crew was detained for final investigation.

Two other Sri Lankan boats with crew were released for handing over to Sri Lankan authorities for further investigation due to considerable quantity of fish stock onboard.

In a similar operation in November 2020, the coastal security forces had apprehended Sri Lankan fishing boat 'Shenaya Duwa' off Kanyakumari, carrying narcotics worth value approximately Rs 1,000 crore in the international market.