KARACHI: In a series of successful raids, the Collectorate of Customs Enforcement Karachi has cracked down on illicit operations involving the production and trafficking of betel nuts, sweet supari, gutka, and narcotics in the city.

On Saturday, the Anti-Smuggling Organization (ASO) of the Collectorate of Customs Enforcement Karachi received confidential information about an illegal factory engaged in the manufacturing of hazardous gutka/chewing tobacco and sweet supari, using foreign-origin betel nuts. The factory was located at SITE Area Karachi, a hub of industrial activity.

Acting on the tip-off, Collector Basit Maqsood Abbasi immediately issued directives to Assistant Collector Enforcement (Anti-Smuggling) Mr. Aman Sadiq, who formed a dedicated special team for the operation. The team, comprised of plainclothes personnel, was assigned the task of closely monitoring the premises.

Following due permissions, the enforcement team conducted a meticulous inspection of the identified premises. The inspection revealed the presence of an illegal factory involved in the production of sweet supari and chewing tobacco/gutka. The team seized goods with a market value of PKR 7.480 Million, believed to be smuggled, from the premises.

The factory was sealed and the owner was arrested. A case has been registered against him under the relevant provisions of the Customs Act, 1969.

In another operation, the Collectorate of Customs Enforcement Karachi thwarted the attempt of trafficking of narcotics substances into the city.

A specific information was provided by Collector Basit Maqsood Abbasi to the effect that a huge quantity of narcotics substances would be brought into the city and would be further disposed of from Northern Bypass for its further illegal sale and disposal.

Pursuant to the information, an anti-smuggling team was constituted who started surveillance in this regard. On Monday, at 20:10 hours, during surveillance, the team intercepted one Hino truck bearing registration no. JV-3781, at Fast Petrol Pump near Mai gari, Northern Bypass, Karachi.

A detailed search of the vehicle revealed that narcotics were concealed tactfully in spare tyres of the vehicle, which were hidden in tool boxes of the vehicle.

The team recovered 57 packets of narcotics (charas) wrapped in polythene bags with yellow tape. Each packet weighed differently, varying from 1194 grams to 1284 grams. The total weight of the seized narcotics was 70,529 grams or 70.529 KGs, with a value of Rs 21,158,700/- (21.1 million).

The team also took into custody the 22 wheeler vehicle with an empty container, valued at 12,500,000/- (12.5 million). The total value of the case was Rs 33,658,700/- (33.6 million).

The driver and the cleaner of the vehicle were arrested and an FIR was lodged against them. Further investigation is underway to trace the source and the destination of the smuggled narcotics.

Collector Basit Maqsood Abbasi praised the efforts of the ASO and the enforcement team for conducting these successful operations. He said that these operations have effectively disrupted the attempts to manufacture and distribute hazardous products, which pose a serious threat to public health and safety.

He also said that the Collectorate of Customs Enforcement Karachi is committed to upholding the integrity of customs enforcement in the city, safeguarding the national economy and curbing illicit activities. He vowed to continue the crackdown on smuggling and illegal trade in the future.