Over Rs. 1.5 bn drugs nabbed at sea | Daily News


Joint PNB-Navy detection off Galle coast

Over Rs. 1.5 bn drugs nabbed at sea

* Record haul of 66 Kg ‘ice’, also 74 Kg heroin
* Iran-based trawler off-loaded to Lankan fishing boats
The heroin and meth tablets. Picture by Kelum Liyanage.
The heroin and meth tablets. Picture by Kelum Liyanage.

A joint operation by the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) and the Navy detected 74 Kilogrammes of heroin (68 packs) and 66 Kilogrammes of the Methamphetamine ‘ice’ drug (50 packs) valued at an estimated Rs. 1.5 billion in the seas off Galle on Saturday, PNB Senior DIG Sajeewa Medawatte announced yesterday. The haul of ‘ice’ is the largest ever of that highly addictive chemical drug in Sri Lanka.

The detection was the result of a nearly two-months-long joint operation conducted by the Police and Navy.

DIG Medawatte told news media at Police headquarters, Colombo, yesterday, that the operation was conducted with the support of the Navy Intelligence Service based on information received from a reliable informant.

According to him, Saturday’s detection is considered the largest ever haul of the ‘ice’ drug (Crystal Methamphetamine) seized in Sri Lankan territorial waters so far. Intelligence had indicated that an Iran-based multi-day trawler had off-loaded the drug cargo into two local fishing boats a few days ago.

“Six suspects including four fishermen and another male and female had been arrested along with the two fishing boats. The Bureau is conducting further investigations to arrest several other suspects who are still at large,” the DIG said. The main suspect is said to be in a foreign country.

The arrested suspects were produced before the Colombo Chief Magistrate’s Courts on Sunday (1st) and will be questioned under a seven-day detention order obtained from courts by the PNB. They are residents of the Southern and the Western Provinces.

Navy Spokesperson Lieutenant Commander Isuru Sooriyabandara said the raid was a turning point in their mission to curb the illicit drug menace in the country.

“These drugs had been brought for distribution in Sri Lanka which shows the demand that these drugs have domestically,” he said. Seventy Police and Navy personnel had joined the raid supported by the ‘Samudura’ patrol ship of the Sri Lanka Navy.

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