ITBP seizes 108 kg smuggled gold near China border

| Updated: 11 July, 2024 6:35 pm IST

LEH: The Indo-Tibetan Border  Police ( ITBP) has confiscated 108 gold ingots, each weighing one kilogram, near the Indo-China boundary and detained three individuals.

In addition to the large amount of illicit gold, the confiscation also included two cell phones, a pair of binoculars, two blades, and several Chinese consumables such as pastries and dairy products, the representative stated.

“This is the largest seizure of gold in ITBP’s history. The confiscated items will be transferred to the customs authorities,” he mentioned.

The representative said the members of the 21st battalion ITBP initiated an extensive patrol on Tuesday afternoon in the Changthang sub-region in eastern Ladakh, encompassing Chizbule, Narbula, Zangle, and Zakla to prevent the infiltration of traffickers as smuggling activities increase around the summer period.

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The ITBP has also received intelligence about smuggling in Sriraple, one kilometre from the Line of Actual Control, he added, noting that the patrol team led by Deputy Commandant Deepak Bhat observed two individuals on mules and instructed them to halt.

However, they attempted to flee but were apprehended after a pursuit, the representative said, adding that initially, they claimed to be medicinal plant traders, but a search of their possessions revealed a large amount of gold and other items.

The traffickers have been identified as Tsering Chamba (40) and Stanzin Dorgyal, both inhabitants of Ladakh’s Nyoma region. One more individual was detained in connection with the seizure, and all three detainees are being interrogated collectively by ITBP and the police, the representative mentioned.

According to ITBP, the patrol team took custody of the suspects and seized items, proceeded to Tactical Headquarters Koyul, and reported the matter to Ajay Nirmalkar, Commandant of the 21st Battalion. The incident was reported to higher authorities, and further investigation and action are ongoing in collaboration with allied organizations.

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ITBP is authorized to conduct searches and confiscations by the Ministry of Home Affairs and is also empowered under the ITBP Act to exercise the powers of Customs at the border to curb smuggling activities.

Joint interrogation of the suspects will be conducted by the Civil Police, Intelligence Bureau, Security Bureau, Customs, and ITBP. The confiscated items along with the suspects have been handed over to Customs officers for further questioning and necessary action as stipulated by law.

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