355kg heroin worth Rs 2,000 crore coated on licorice roots found in container at JNPT | Delhi News

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NEW DELHI: At first, it appeared to be a consignment of 22 tonnes of licorice (mulethi in Hindi), a herb widely used to treat throat congestion and digestive problems. On close scrutiny, Delhi Police’s special cell found this was no medicinal cargo: coating the licorice was 355kg of Afghan heroin worth Rs 2,000 crore in the international market.

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The special cell seized the heroin consignment after intercepting a container at the Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust in Mumbai which was sent from Iran via Dubai. Capping a fortnight-long operation, the shipment was intercepted just before it was to be shifted to Delhi by road for processing at makeshift labs.
The heroin haul worth Rs 2,000 crore in Mumbai was the result of a fortnight-long operation. An Afghan smuggler, Rahimullah Rahimi, was arrested two weeks ago with a huge quantity of methamphetamine and heroin. DCP (special cell) Pramod Kushwaha said Rahimi and his aide, Mustafa Stanikzai, were put through sustained interrogation and they spilled the beans on a large amount of the lethal drug being smuggled into the country for distribution among youths in Delhi and Punjab.
After conducting raids at several places in the country, police finally located the container at the JNPT, Mumbai. Armed with a search warrant, a team led by ACPs Lalit Mohan Negi and Hriday Bhushan rushed to Mumbai. It turned out to be a consignment of licorice roots. Identifying the heroin-steeped roots from the 22,000kg consignment was a like finding a needle in a haystack as cops had to separate the ones darker in colour and send them for extraction.
“It was revealed that 17 bags containing licorice roots soaked with heroin…had been concealed among other bags…During the preliminary examination by the authorities, the entire consignment had already been checked and cleared after nothing could be found,” special commissioner HGS Dhaliwal said. In the process, the bags of the consignment had got damaged and the licorice roots were lying inside the container.
The special cell team inspected the container, even checking if the heroin had been concealed somewhere in the body of the container. “Finally, a team comprising inspector Vinod Badola, SI Sunder Gautam and others were deployed to inspect each and every stick of the consignment which was weighing around 20,000kg in total.
It was observed that the colour of some of the sticks of licorice root was darker than the others,” DCP (special cell) Pramod Kushwaha said. During the nightlong tedious exercise, the team was finally able to detect heroin in all the sticks that were darker.
The discovery was corroborated by the narcotics control bureau’s kit and forensic officials. Police said this module of the international drug syndicate is suspected to be part of a bigger network with terror links which are being investigated.

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