Following inputs from international counterparts about a sudden increase in the smuggling of heroin from the Gwadar port of Makran coast in Pakistan, the Indian enforcement agencies have taken proactive steps and increased maritime surveillance.
“Inputs from the Tanzanian authorities have been shared by the international organizations, following purported revelations by a Tanzanian national”, said an official.
The accused said heroin consignments were being smuggled on board dhows from Pakistan and they were being dropped at various coastal locations on the Tanzania border. About 25 such dhows had entered the Tanzanian coastal region between March and May.
The consignments were also being routed via Mozambique, where 12 Pakistani nationals — who initially claimed that they were fishermen — were detained on April 30. “The accused were later arrested and put in jail after traces of heroin were found on the boat”, the official said.
In December 2019, 13 Pakistani nationals were arrested off the Cabo Delgado province coast with a consignment of heroin and amphetamine.
“In Tanzania also, over a dozen Pakistani nationals were arrested in 2017. However, in November 2019, 12 of them were released under suspicious circumstances,” the official said.
In a paper “The Uberisation of Mozambique’s Heroin Trade” published in July 2018, Joseph Hanlon of the Department of International Development of the London School of Economics and Political Science said Mozambique was a significant transit centre and the trade had increased to 40 tonnes or more per year, making it a major export which contributes up to $100 million per year to the local economy.
The report said heroin was picked up from the Makran coast of Iran and Pakistan and transported to traditional trading destinations on the coast of Kenya, Tanzania and northern Mozambique.
“Usually these are motorized wooden Jelbot dhows built in the United Arab Emirates and designed for sea-going fishing. Their length of 15-23 metres allows them to travel at sea but remain too small to spot from satellites or patrol vessels. They have concealed compartments which can carry 100-1,000 kg heroin, but if stopped pretend to be fishing vessels,” it said.