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Here’s how Pakistan smuggles drugs into India through sleeper cells | CNN-News18 accesses intel note

Pakistan is taking advantage of its geographical location for drug business in the Golden Crescent and its porous border with Afghanistan serves as major transit corridor for the drugs, the note added.

April 26, 2022 / 10:12 PM IST
Representative image | Source: Reuters

Representative image | Source: Reuters

Pakistan is using its links to create drug sleeper cells and smuggle drugs into India in talc consignments, according to a note from the Indian intelligence agencies accessed by CNN-News18.

Pakistan is taking advantage of its geographical location for drug business in the Golden Crescent and its porous border with Afghanistan serves as major transit corridor for the drugs, it added.

Afghanistan to Pakistan:

The Golden Crescent is one of Asia's key areas of illicit opium production. Located at the crossroads of Central, South and Western Asia, this space covers the mountainous peripheries of Afghanistan and Pakistan, extending into eastern Iran.

According to the note, 40% of Afghan drugs transit Pakistan before they reach the international market.

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“Drugs from Afghanistan reach the Torkham border crossing, Ghulam Khan in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province and are sent to Lahore and Faisalabad. They are then transported to Karachi and Gwadar using shipping vessels,” said the note.

The drug network from Balochistan passes through Chaman, Noshki, Chagaghi, Dalbandeen, Panjgor, Turbat, Gawadar and Jeewani.

How it works:

Smuggling of drugs is a well-oiled system which is run and funded from Afghanistan and its distribution network is handled by Pakistan-based sleeper cells in India, said sources.

These sleeper cells mainly include Sikhs and Muslims with connections in Dubai, Lahore and Karachi. They not only arrange for imports in India, but also for custom clearance and further distribution, said the note.

Once it is distributed across the country, they collect the money and keep a part of it for terror activities and the rest goes back via hawala channels.

The cell forges documents including goods and service tax invoices, custom clearance certificates and company records. The cells arrange for warehouses and stores in major cities.

Recent instances

On September 13, 2021, 3,000 kg of heroin was seized at Gujarat’s Mundra port. On December 19, 2021, heroin worth Rs 400 crore was seized in the Indian waters off the Gujarat coast. In Punjab’s Ferozepur, a huge amount of heroin was confiscated on December 26, 2021.

More than 10 containers at Mundra Port, declared as talc, are still to be opened, but the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) has not ruled out the presence of drugs in these containers.

These drug lords arrange for an Indian company which allows them to import talc and drugs in their name. They show it as semi-processed talc stones. These companies allow them to use their firm for benami import of stones and facilitate smuggling of heroin.

They also willingly sign all documents relating to import, customs clearance and sale of semi-processed talc stones to a fictitious buyer in India, said sources.

To legitimise their business, they allow their company’s bank account to send money from India to Afghanistan.

PAK uses to fund terror

Intelligence sources told CNN-News18 that Pakistan army was under pressure to deliver because of multiple reasons.
Due to international body Financial Action Task Force’s (FATF) crackdown on terror financing, Pakistan is facing a financial crisis and have devised this formula to activate self-funded sleeper cells, said sources.

In this business, while Pakistan’s role is minimal, they are able to get a major cut in the earnings, which can fund their terror projects in India, said sources.

They are using anti-India elements for the cause, with most unaware that their company is importing drugs, said sources.

first published: Apr 26, 2022 10:12 pm