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Navy bring 10 suspects, two trawlers with heroin to Colombo Port

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Navy personnel inspecting a trawler.
Navy personnel inspecting a trawler.

Navy apprehended 10 suspects with two local fishing trawlers, which were suspected to have smuggled narcotics into the island. The suspects and the fishing trawlers were brought to the Colombo Port yesterday (16). The apprehension was made based on information revealed by the suspects of a local fishing trawler, which was held during a special operation carried out by the Navy in waters west of Beruwala on January 5. The same operation also led to the seizure of 23.235kg (including packages) of heroin.

In order to curb illegal activities, including the smuggling of drugs via sea routes, Sri Lanka Navy conducts regular patrols and operations in the coastal and beach areas of the island. According to a coordinated operation carried out by the Navy together with other intelligence services, it has been revealed that a number of local multi-day fishing trawlers are involved in the smuggling of drugs into Sri Lanka. During the apprehension by SLNS Wickrama II on January 5 off Beruwala, 22 packages of heroin weighing 23.235kg (including packages) were recovered from the suspicious trawler (Reg. No. IMUL–A–1610–MTR Kingfisher – 6). Along with the consignment of narcotics, five suspects and a trawler were also taken into custody.

Based on information revealed by the suspects, two more local multi-day fishing trawlers (Reg. No. IMUL–A–1888–MTR Kingfisher – 8 and IMUL–A–2029–MTR Kingfisher – 3) suspected of smuggling drugs to Sri Lanka were intercepted off the western coast by SLNS Gajabahu on January 7 and 8. During interrogation, the suspects admitted that they had thrown the stocks of narcotics overboard with the presence of the Navy. The interrogation also revealed that drug traffickers have developed a new strategy in which they remove inside components of the multi-day fishing trawlers’ Radar Domes and conceal drugs there.

The two fishing trawlers brought ashore are now being inspected. Meanwhile, the fishing trawlers and 10 suspects will be handed over to the Police Narcotic Bureau.

Going by the directives of the President and guidance of Defence, Secretary General Kamal Gunaratne (Retd), a range of anti-drug operations are being conducted across the island to eradicate the menace of drugs from the country. The Sri Lanka Navy in coordination with law enforcement agencies plays a pivotal role under the leadership of Navy Commander Vice Admiral Priyantha Perera to apprehend smugglers engage in such illegal acts.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023 – 01:00

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