Customs officials in northern India have seized narcotics worth $390 million that were smuggled from neighboring Pakistan, in the country’s largest seizure of illegal drugs, officials said Monday.
Top customs official Dipak Kumar Gupta said 586 kilograms (1,290 pounds) of narcotics, mostly heroin, were hidden in 15 bags among 600 sacks of rock salt imported from Pakistan and were seized Saturday in Punjab state. He said two men including the importer of the salt have been detained and are being questioned.
Gupta said officials became suspicious when they found one bag containing a white granular substance. After sifting through the hundreds of sacks, they found 534 kilograms (1,175 pounds) of heroin and 52 kilograms (115 pounds) of mixed narcotics, he said.
Another customs official, Bopal Singh, said it was the biggest seizure of narcotics in India by any government agency.
Officials called it a major success in their fight against drugs in the state, where addiction rates are high. Punjab is a major transit point for drugs and has become a major consumer base as well. Smuggling of drugs and goods is common along Punjab’s 553-kilometer (345-mile) border with Pakistan.
In the past, dozens of police and paramilitary officials guarding border areas have been arrested on suspicion of helping smugglers.