INDIA: Nine Iranians accused of setting their ship ablaze to try and destroy heroin stashed aboard have been rescued by India’s coastguard and held for drug offences, officials said.
The crew made “desperate attempts to run away” when approached by authorities off the coast of Gujarat in India’s west, a statement from the state’s anti-terror squad said.
“Indian Coast Guard Ship chased the boat and when apprehension became inevitable, its crew set the boat ablaze to destroy the evidence (sic),” the statement said.
The coastguard managed to seize 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of heroin before the stricken boat — which had 24,000 litres of fuel and gas cylinders aboard — exploded and sank.
Nine men — all Iranians — were plucked from the sea and taken into custody. Based on their interrogation, the boat was believed to have been loaded in Pakistan at the port of Gwadar, the statement said.
The heroin seized has a street value of $72.5 million, officials added.