Nigerian held from Delhi in Rs 215-cr heroin drug haul was in touch with Pak handler: Guj ATS

Ahmedabad: A Nigerian man arrested in connection with the seizure of 31 kg heroin worth Rs 214.6 crore from Gujarat’s Rajkot district was in touch with a handler from Pakistan from where the consignment might have been sent to India via the Gujarat coast, the state ATS said on Saturday.

The Nigerian, identified as Ekwunife Nwagbo (28), was arrested from his rented apartment at Uttam Nagar in New Delhi by a joint team of Gujarat ATS, Surat crime branch, and Delhi Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) after it was learnt that the heroin, seized from a village in Rajkot district recently, was meant to be delivered to him, said Superintendent of Police of Gujarat Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS), Sunil Joshi.

Joshi told reporters that the Nigerian was in touch with a Pakistani handler who would pass instructions to him regarding the delivery of the contraband in Delhi.

The Nigerian was living in Delhi on a fake identity, he said.

”He was in direct touch with the Pakistani handler who would supply him with instructions regarding who would deliver him the drug in Delhi and where…As per the tip-off, the drug was dropped on the Gujarat coast. We are yet to ascertain as to where exactly on the Gujarat coast it was dropped,” said Joshi.

The ATS officer said that Gujarat ATS acted on a tip-off that a drug mafia based in Pakistan’s Karachi, Haji Anwar, had dispatched the heroin via sea route which was offloaded on the Gujarat coast. The drug was kept at Nyara village in Rajkot district and was supposed to be taken to Delhi to be delivered to the Nigerian.

The ATS and local police teams found 31 packets of the drug on May 10 which was prima facie heroin. It weighed 30.66 kg and was worth Rs 214.62 crore in the international markets.

A joint team of Gujarat ATS and the Surat crime branch rushed to Delhi and arrested Nwagbo.

”During the search operation, Nwagbo’s phone was recovered. When probed, it was revealed that he was in touch with a Pakistani handler,” the ATS said.

The international (drug) cartels adopted a new modus operandi of the ”dead dropping” of a consignment. The receiver was in contact with Pakistani handlers, the ATS said.

Primary investigation revealed the arrested accused was living in Uttam Nagar in Delhi since August 2022 on a fake identity. He was associated with a narco-trafficking business, it said.

According to ATS, the Nigerian had rented a separate house to receive delivery of the contraband which he could sell later.

The accused has been remanded in the custody of police for 12 days. The interrogation will focus on the period of the criminal activity of the accused and to whom and where he had sent illegal drugs. The ATS is also trying to unravel how the Nigerian received the delivery of narcotic drugs and who else was involved, it said.