* Over 294 kg heroin valued at nearly Rs. 3 bn seized
* Two suspects, two vans taken into custody
* STF, PNB conduct raid
President extends gratitude to PNB, STF : President extends gratitude to PNB, STF : President Maithripala Sirisena yesterday visited the Police Narcotics Bureau and expressed his appreciation and gratitude to the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) and the Special Task Force (STF) for seizing the largest ever heroin haul in Sri Lanka. While expressing his unconditional support to eradicate the drug menace for the country’s future generations. President Sirisena was briefed about the operation while inspecting the seized drug haul. STF Commandant Senior DIG M.R. Latiff, Senior DIG C.D.Wickremarathne and Police Narcotics Bureau Director SSP T.C.A. Dhanapala were also present. Picture by Chandana Perera, President’s Media Division  

The Police Special Task Force (STF) and the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) in a joint raid seized 294 kilograms and 490 grams of heroin, the largest ever haul found in Sri Lanka in the Kollupitiya area on Saturday (23) evening.

This bulk of heroin was found in two mini vans parked at a luxury shopping complex car park.

Police recovered 272 parcels packed in 10 packages hidden in those vehicles.

“One hundred and thirty one kilograms of heroin were discovered in one vehicle and the rest was discovered in the other vehicle. The total value of the seized heroin stock is Rs. 2,945 million. The police also had arrested two suspects with the heroin bulk,” Police said.

The vehicles in which the heroin was found. Picture by Kelum Liyanage

They are 43-year-old Mohomad Bazir Mohomad Ajmir and 32-year-old Mohomad Rilan Ahamad Ruzni from Keselwatte in Panadura.

The second suspect was masquerading as a businessman and other as his driver,” Police said.

The second suspect had been involved in drug trafficking and it was revealed that he has been transporting drugs using hired vehicles. The suspect’s four-year-old child had accompanied him to evade Police suspicion.

On Saturday also he has been with his child when the Police conducted their raid. The child was handed over to his mother by the police.

“The heroin buyers come to the car park and transport the required stocks from the vehicle which is left in the car park,” the suspect had confessed.

According to him, this drug deal has been organised by his brother-in-law from Dubai.

The suspect had left 15 vehicles in 15 car parks in and around Colombo with 100 kilograms and 50 kilograms packages of heroin during the last two months.

The suspect’s brother, Raheem conducts the business with a person called Moril. Moril is said to be the person who gave the Dubai Police the tip-off to arrest Makandure Madush during the party at a hotel in Dubai. He has since fled to the UK from Dubai due to the death threats from the Madush’s henchmen.

However, the Police have information that the illegal drugs are being smuggled into the country from Pakistan by multiday fishing boats via the Southern coastal areas with Raheem and Moril’s knowledge. Those drugs have been stored in Colombo and the Police Intelligent Unit has received information on such a store situated in the Mattakkuliya area. According to the Police Narcotics Bureau, this is the largest heroin haul detected in an Asian country after India, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The Colombo Fort Magistrate’s Court yesterday allowed the PNB to detain the two suspects for further questioning till March 1,”the Police Media Spokesman SP Ruwan Gunasekara said.

On December 31 last year, Police seized 272 kilograms of heroin and five kilograms of cocaine at a housing complex at Mount Lavinia. The haul was worth over Rs. 2.4 billion.

The Police in December also seized another 231 kilograms of heroin worth Rs. 2, 778 million while they were being brought to the country by boats from Beruwala area. Two suspects were arrested in connection with the case.

Prior to that, the Police Narcotics Bureau with the support of the Sri Lanka Customs officials seized 261 kilograms of heroin hidden inside a container in August 2013. Three suspects were also arrested in connection with the incident.

According to sources, the STF has been able to arrest over 900 kilograms of heroin during the past three months. Further investigations are being conducted into those cases. 

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