News

Coastal areas awash with drug smuggling: Police

by Dinitha Ratnayake

 

Sri Lanka has recorded a series of smuggling activities in the coastal areas of the island, according to Police Media Spokesman Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Police Ajith Rohana.

Speaking at a press conference, he said that most of the smuggling activities have been reported from Negombo, Chilaw, Puttalam, and the coastline from Mannar to Jaffna.

“Most of the smugglers select these areas to transport illegal drugs since it is easier for them to reach the island. Presently, they use different techniques to smuggle drugs.”

The Navy, during a special search operation conducted in the coastal area of Polwathumodara, Weligama, on the night of 12 June, seized over 219 kilos of heroin attempted to be smuggled into the island by sea and arrested nine suspects in connection with the smuggling.

“The stock of drugs had been concealed in sacks and gas cylinders when the apprehension was made. The Navy and the Police Narcotic Bureau are conducting further investigations into the incident.”

According to Rohana, some of the raids are combined operations conducted by the Police, the Excise Department, along with security forces personnel.

The Police have introduced several numbers to obtain and receive information about such incidents and the public can call on 1997,119, or 0112433333 to report such incidents.

Meanwhile, Customs Chief Maj. Gen. (Retd.) Vijitha Ravipriya, who was also present at the occasion, said that some of the countries in Europe were surprised with the performance of Customs as Customs officers were able to seize a large consignment of illegal cigarettes ready to be re-exported to a number of European countries.

“Customs seized a large consignment of illegal cigarettes worth Rs. 9.5 billion recently. The consignment was seized by officials attached to the Customs Compliance and Facilitation Division while inspecting 21 containers at the Colombo Port. They were ready to be re-exported to a number of European countries including the Netherlands and Germany as Sri Lankan spices and black tea. The Customs suspect that these illegal imports might have been linked with internationally organised racketeers and we therefore shared our details with other countries to prevent such,” he said.

Ravipriya also claimed that the total tax loss to the Government, if the racketeers were successful, would have been around Rs. 9 billion.