‘It was very important to find out the people who are sending the banned drugs to India and their local contacts’.

 

New Delhi: In June 2019, Indian officials seized 530 kg heroin from a truck that had arrived from Pakistan via the Attari border. This record of massive haul was broken last month when Indian officials seized 3,004 kg of heroin at a port in Gujarat that had originated from Kandahar and had arrived in India through Iran.

Official sources said that at present, the asking average price of 60-70% pure heroin at wholesale rate, in the US market, is around $60,000-$70,000 per kg or around Rs 50 lakh per kg. However, its price increases to $500 per gram or $5,00,000 per kg when it is finally distributed on streets or about Rs 4 crore per kg. The price of heroin is heavily decided by its purity, which ranges from 1% to 100% and the market in which it is being dumped.

As per the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the average price of heroin in the Western market was $31000 per kg in 2016 or Rs 23 lakh per kg. In some countries like Finland and France, during the same period, it was fetching a much higher price of $54000 and $44000 per kg respectively.

Heroin, a highly addictive Opioid drug (that affects the Opioid receptors in the body), is made from a substance called morphine, which is derived from the seed pod of the opium poppy plant. Heroin works by attaching itself to Opioid receptors in the brain, spinal cord, and other areas of the body such as the stomach and lungs. The drug, apart from alleviating pain, activates the release of neurotransmitters like dopamine and serotonin. When their levels increase, a euphoric and pleasurable high occurs. As per official records, almost 85% to 93% of heroin in the world originates from Afghanistan.

Official sources, who track the drug market and movement in the same, said that it was a “very worrying” trend as the recent seizure indicates that a huge amount of black money that is generated from the transaction of drugs like heroin was now floating in the Indian market. “The seizure at the port in Gujarat is extremely worrying. If it was able to leave Indian shores for Western market, then it would have generated a massive amount of money for individuals and groups behind this whole deal. A big concern is that this huge amount of money can be used to bring down or rig crucial systems at micro and macro levels that run the country. Such a ‘valuable’ consignment would not have arrived in India unless the originators had secured some sort of guarantee that it would be safe in India and that a substantial part of the goods would be able to reach the Western countries where it fetches a much higher price than in India. The point is, in lieu of this guarantee, those Indian nationals who are a part of this deal, must have got a massive amount of money considering the total worth of the heroin. We are worried that the recent spurt in the seizure of heroin in the country, and the valid assumption that many such consignments miss our eyes, are a part of a bigger plan to destabilize the country in the coming months,” a senior intelligence official told The Sunday Guardian.

The Indian agencies have arrested at least eight people, including five foreign nationals, who were allegedly a part of this whole transaction and were supposed to ensure that the consignment leaves India. These “foot soldiers” were paid an amount of Rs 10-Rs 15 lakh for this. “Those who have been arrested were working at the lowest level of this operation. We need to identify the brains behind this whole thing and their links with people in India who were in the position to help them,” the officer quoted above said.

An official with an agency that tracks developments in neighbouring countries said that the fact that the consignment originated from Afghanistan strongly indicates the possibility of Pakistan-based state actors playing a crucial role. “Drug money is the best money for those who want to spread trouble in their own homes and outside as it is based on little investment, leaves little trail and the transaction is done in a clandestine manner,” the official said.

According to him, it was very important to find out the people who are sending the banned drugs to India and their local contacts as they are likely to be involved in a much bigger deadly plan.