Drug smuggling through darknet, cryptocurrencies increased: Amit Shah

New Delhi:  Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that there has been an increase in drug smuggling through the darknet and cryptocurrencies, which is also responsible for terrorism.

The Home Minister made the remarks at a high-level regional meeting on drug trafficking and national security in Gujarat’s capital Gandhinagar on Wednesday.

Shah said that on the one hand narcotics are eating the youth like termites and on the other hand the illegal money coming from the narcotics trade nurtures terrorism.

He said that to keep the youth safe and to combat the financing of terrorism, all the Central and state agencies have to fight this as a common battle and have to win.

Shah said that the major drug smuggling issues in western states include the increasing maritime smuggling of heroin from the west coast, illegal cultivation of narcotics such as opium, ganja, and poppy, use of couriers and parcels in drug smuggling, darknet and increase in drug smuggling through cryptocurrencies.

Shah said that during the recent investigation of cases, new trends have emerged in drug trafficking in western states and necessary action needs to be taken to tackle these new trends.

The Home Minister said that among the states of the western region of the country, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Goa and the Union Territories of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu have a vast coastline, additionally Rajasthan and Gujarat share borders with Pakistan.

Shah said that there has been an increase in the smuggling of South Central Asian heroin through the sea route as well as the increasing cases of heroin smuggling through the Indo-Pak border is a matter of concern.

Sharing details drug smuggling cases, the Home Minister said that from 2006 to 2013, a total of 1, 257 cases were registered, while from 2014 to 2022, 3, 172 cases were registered, which is a total increase of 152 per cent.

Similarly, from 2006 to 2013, a total of 1.52 lakh kg of drugs were seized, which increased to 3.33 lakh kg from 2014 to 2022, earlier its value was Rs 768 crores, which has now increased to Rs 20, 000 crores.

Shah said that a drug addict is not a criminal, but a victim. He stressed on the need to destroy the entire network of drugs by attacking both the source and destination of drugs by adopting top-to-bottom and bottom-to-top approaches.

The Home Minister also stressed on strict implementation of various provisions of the NDPS Act. He stressed the need to consider setting up fast-track courts to ensure speedy trials.