KARACHI: Customs Preventive has seized 22 tons of acetic anhydride valuing Rs616 million, which was lying abandoned since November 2015, official sources said.

Customs Appraisement East had put up a lot number on the container and it was to be put on auction.

Drugs Enforcement Cell of MCC Preventive received the information that products which are otherwise banned to be imported are lying at NLC Container terminal.

MCC Preventive team examined the container and recovered 22 tons of acetic anhydride. The container was imported from Tanzania.

No one appeared claiming ownership of the goods and no Goods Declaration (GD) was filed for the clearance of goods.  Therefore,  Customs Appraisement East initiated the auction proceedings.

An FIR to this effect has been lodged and investigations are underway. Initial investigations found that the said container was to be transshipped to Sialkot dry port.

Sources said that it was suspected that the consignment was imported by the cartel involved in pilferage and replacement of transshipment goods. It is suspected that these goods were to be pilfered during transit and replaced with some other low value goods.

It is also suspected that this chemical which is used for heroin manufacturing was to be ultimately transported to Afghanistan through some other channels after pilfered during transit.

The key chemical used in the acetylation of morphine to form heroin is acetic anhydride, a colorless, highly combustible liquid with a strong pickle-like odor. Though internationally controlled as a heroin precursor, acetic anhydride also used to synthesize aspirin and chemicals for leather tanning and photography.