Probe reveals NE smuggling route


Guwahati, April 2: The unfenced Indo-Myanmar border at Jokhawthar in Mizoram and Moreh in Manipur continue to be major entry points for international gold and drug smuggling gangs, according to central intelligence officials.
Investigation by the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence, the agency leading the crackdown on cross-border crime, revealed that Thailand-based gangs are increasingly using the porous borders in the Northeast owing to an increase in vigil in rest of the country.
“Thailand gangs are smuggling gold through Bangladesh, Myanmar and Nepal and most of the recoveries this year were smuggled through the Indo-Myanmar border. The consignments are transported to Calcutta and Delhi by air or rail from Guwahati, Dimapur, Silchar and Jorhat,” a source in DRI zonal office, Calcutta, said.
The DRI has joined hands with Customs, Assam Rifles, BSF, state Police, Forest Department and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau, and other agencies, to crack down on cross-border smuggling of gold, drugs, wildlife parts, arms, fake Indian currency and others. Over 300kg gold, valued at Rs 93 crore, and over 1,000kg cannabis and other drugs have been recovered during the DRI-led crackdown in the past year. Customs, police and other security agencies have also made several recoveries.
The Northeast and Bengal share borders with Myanmar, China, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal and this stretch has been a favourite route for smugglers and anti-social groups owing to poor security infrastructure.
Acting on a tip-off, DRI sleuths on Saturday recovered 34 gold bars, weighing around 5.6kg, from 3 persons at Howrah station in Calcutta, taken from Guwahati by Saraighat Express. The trio had concealed the gold bars in their shoes. Two of them were involved in gold smuggling in the past, a DRI source said.
The source said gold smuggling remains a lucrative business as the demand for gold in India never dips.
The DRI recovered 1,040kg cannabis from a vehicle near Guwahati on March 17, which was concealed in a secret chamber at the base of the truck. On March 15, 763kg cannabis was recovered by a team of DRI and Assam police from a vehicle at Harmati-Doimukh road near North Lakhimpur. (TTNE)