India

India heroin bust: Coastguard seizes 1,500kg of drugs

File photo: Indian border security force officers show off packets of confiscated heroin found near the India-Pakistan border , 18 February 2017 Image copyright AFP
Image caption India's proximity to Afghanistan means it is part of a drugs transit route (file photo)

Indian authorities have seized a massive 1,500kg (3,300lb) haul of heroin from a ship off the coast of the western state of Gujarat.

The narcotics were found on a merchant vessel, and were worth almost $550m (£420m), a statement from the coastguard said.

Navy spokesman D K Sharma described it as "the largest single haul of narcotics to date".

The vessel has now been taken to the western city of Porbandar.

India is part of a transit route in the lucrative drug smuggling trade, due to its proximity to Afghanistan, which is the world's largest producer of opium - the main ingredient in heroin.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime says large shipments of Afghan heroin are smuggled across the Indian Ocean to east and southern Africa.

India has a serious heroin problem in the northern state of Punjab.

A study suggests that more than 860,000 men between the ages of 15 and 35 there take some form of drugs, with heroin afflicting 53% of addicts.

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