India and the United States recently joined forces in Operation Broader Sword, a multi-agency operation aimed at preventing the illegal shipment of pharmaceuticals, devices, and precursor chemicals through the International Mail System (IMS). The operation, conducted in June 2023, resulted in the interception of over 500 shipments of illicit and unapproved prescription drugs bound for US consumers.
Objective and Collaboration:
Under Operation Broader Sword, law enforcement agencies from both countries, including India’s Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Customs and Border Protection (CBP), Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and US Postal Inspection Service (USPIS), worked together to target and halt the smuggling of dangerous and unauthorized pharmaceuticals, combination medical devices, and synthetic drug precursors through International Mail Facilities (IMF).
Interception and Actions Taken:
During the operation, investigators examined more than 1,500 shipments originating in India, taking action on approximately 500 products, including illicit medications designed to treat serious diseases. Several shipments were found to contain opioids and other controlled substances. The operation focused on packages entering the United States from India through the New York (JFK International Airport) and Chicago (ORD International Airport) International Mail Facilities (IMFs) between June 12 and June 23.
Successful Arrest and Collaboration:
As part of the operation, HSI special agents carried out a controlled delivery of a suspected shipment, resulting in the arrest of an Indian national involved in the illegal importation of illicit pharmaceuticals to the United States. The arrest included opioids and other controlled substances. Mark Fredrick, the US DEA attaché in India, emphasized the strong working relationship between US law enforcement and regulatory agencies and their Indian counterparts, highlighting the expanded cooperation achieved through Operation Broader Sword.
Protecting People and Strengthening Cooperation:
Operation Broader Sword not only safeguards the citizens of the United States and India but also helps identify and target traffickers operating or seeking to expand their activities in India. Additionally, the operation assists Indian law enforcement in enhancing measures to combat the flow of illicit drugs that could harm Indian citizens. By working together, the two countries aim to ensure the protection of their populations and improve drug control efforts.