Largest drug haul seized in high seas brought to Dikkowita harbour

Apr 02, 2020 08:44 am    Views: 138

Largest drug haul seized in high seas brought to Dikkowita harbour

Sri Lankan Navy launched a successful naval operation to seize a large consignment of drugs. This special operation was carried out by one of the Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessels in high seas about 463 nautical miles (835km) away from Sri Lankan shores. 

The seized haul of drugs along with the suspects and vessel were brought to the Dikkowita fisheries harbour this morning (01st April 2020).

Defence Secretary Maj.Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne visited the Sri Lanka Navys (SLN), Dikowita harbour, where the country’s largest ever drug haul worth of Rs. 12,500 million nabbed at international waters was displayed.

He stated that while the entire world is engulfed in COVID-19 fear, the Sri Lankan Government, which is taking all possible precautionary measures to contain the virus, has taken serious measures to combat drug trafficking, terrorism and extremism to maintain national security.

He said the military and Police personel were deployed, islandwide, to maintain law and order, to restrict people’s movement to contain the highly contagious virus and also to be alerted on other security threats.

“Sri Lanka’s Tri-Forces, Police and other security agencies are kept on high alert on other security threats while they have been tasked to support the Government’s mechanism to control the spreading of COVID-19,” he said.

Sri Lanka Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel SLNS ‘Sayura’ intercepted a vessel carrying a large consignment of narcotics in seas about 463 nautical miles (835km) off the southern coast of the island on Saturday, 28th March 2020 around 9.30 a.m. 

After having detected a Flag State-less vessel in international waters, it had been intercepted by the Navy and about 605kg crystal methamphetamine (Ice), around 579kg of drugs called ketamine which had not been discovered in Sri Lanka before were found onboard the suspicious vessel. 

It was also reported that 200 packets of babul drug and another 100g of unidentified drug pills had been found aboard. The consignment of crystal methamphetamine has been valued at about Rs. 6,050 million. 

Apart from the drugs, 09 Pakistan nationals aboard the vessel in connection to the incident were also taken into naval custody. This remains to be the biggest haul of narcotics seized in an operation at sea till date.

This is the third foreign vessel to be detained while transporting narcotics to Sri Lanka, during the past three (03) months. Prior to this incident, the Navy on 22nd and 25th February intercepted 02 foreign vessels carrying narcotics to Sri Lanka and seized a Sri Lankan fishing vessel transferring narcotics from those foreign vessels. 

As part of that interception, 16 foreigners and 05 locals as well as another 06 locals involved in transfer of narcotics at sea were also held in southern part of the island. 

Further, the Navy was able to seize 3,653kg of Kerala cannabis, 762kg of heroin, 3kg of crystal methamphetamine in 2019 and 2,339kg of Kerala cannabis, 739kg of crystal methamphetamine, 438kg of heroin and 579kg of ketamine in the past 03 months of year 2020.

Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, senior naval officers and a group of senior officers from the Police Narcotic Bureau were also present on this occasion when the consignment of drugs being brought to the Dikkowita fisheries harbour. 

Defense Secretary, Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne also arrived at the Dikkowita fisheries harbour to inspect the consignment of drugs. 

Meanwhile, the Police Narcotic Bureau will be conducting further investigation with regard to the 09 Pakistan nationals, vessels and drugs seized during this operation. 

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