Plans to ban Babul:
Police nab nine drug barons
The nine drug barons who were operating in the country with impunity
since 1993 have been arrested by the Police. The drug barons from areas
like Colombo, Dehiwela and other areas, were rounded up by the 27th of
September 2006, the Director of the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) Senior
Supdt. of Police (SSP) Sugathadasa told the "Sunday Observer".
He said that a number of Sri Lankan drug traffickers wanted by the
police have fled to the neighbouring SAARC countries and are operating
under cover with the help of drug lords in those countries.
According to figures compiled by the PNB around 237 Sri Lankans have
fled the country during the past years. Meanwhile a Sri Lankan who
smuggled drugs to the United Kingdom concealed in mattresses in 1993
have returned to Sri Lanka after serving a jail term there. The
consignment of mattresses was detected by the Customs in the U.K.
The number of Sri Lankan drug traffickers who fled to India are 213
persons, while 21 drug traffickers have fled to Maldives. Two persons
have fled to Pakistan while one person fled to Nepal. The suspects were
wanted by the PNB and other law enforcement agencies for serious drug
Local figures show that drug couriers arrested by the law enforcement
agencies in Sri Lanka during the period 1993-2006 are as follows. Eighty
nine Pakistanis, 2 Nepalese, 1 Maldivian, 82 Indians. The Indian
Narcotics Control Board (NCB) has close links with the Sri Lankan Police
Narcotics Bureau (PNB) and often exchange valuable information with
regard to drug couriers.
According to Director PNB SSP Sugathadasa the local drug addicts are
facing a crisis situation due to the shortfall of heroin being smuggled
into the country owing to the ongoing security operations in the North,
so much so that heroin addicts have switched over to other indigenous
drugs as substitutes for heroin.
Usually heroin is smuggled across the Palk strait by couriers with
the help of fishermen who are paid generously for undertaking such
missions. However attempts to smuggle in large quantities of heroin this
year have been thwarted by naval presence in the north seas. Although
detections have increased during the first quarter of 2006, quantitywise
there is a sharp drop in heroin. This could probably be attributed to
non availability of heroin.
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) arrested four persons last week
from Grandpass, Maligawatte and Dehiwela areas for possessing large
quantities of heroin. The haul was 1 kilo and 150 grams of heroin with a
street value of more than Rs. 4 million. PNB sleuths laied in ambush and
intercepted a tri-shaw at Furgueson road at Grandpass last week.
A man carrying a parcel containing heroin was found in the tri-shaw.
Police arrested the man and took charge of the vehicle along with its
driver for questioning. On a tip off PNB sleuths searched houses at
Badowitta-Dehiwela and at Maligawatte and recovered quantities of
The four suspects included two Sinhalese and two Muslim persons who
were taken before the Mount Lavinia and Maligakanda courts and remanded.
Statistics show that there is a reduction of heroin detected this
year. The amount of heroin detected during the first quarter of this
year by the law enforcement agencies like the Police Narcotics Bureau,
out Station Police Stations, Customs, and the Excise Department was 42
kilos and 30 grams and 24 milligrams.
This figure is less than what was detected during the same period
last year. The Cannabis detected during the same period is 9736 kilos,
876 grams and 46 milligrams. Hashish detected was 408 kilos and 438
grams and Madana Modakaya was 7 grams and 900 millimeters.
Sri Lanka has become a transit point for heroin smuggled across to
Europe. Around 1200-2000 kilos of heroin is smuggled across to Sri Lanka
annually for local consumption alone.
Meanwhile the National Dangerous Drugs Control Board has forwarded a
proposal to the Attorney General's Department to amend the existing law
relating to synthetic drugs such as ecstasy, commonly known as the date
rape drug in the west smuggled into the country.
Young people have often used such drugs to seduce their female
partners at night clubs and at functions. When the law is amended police
will be able to prosecute people who possess such drugs.
The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board is contemplating banning
the import and sale of Babul betel leaves near school premises. Students
who get addicted to Babul betel leaves often end up as drug addicts,
According to a survey conducted sometime back by the PNB it was
revealed that several police officers in Colombo and suburban Police
stations have had close links with drug dealers. However it is not known
whether the department has probed into these allegations so far.
However as stipulated in the Mahinda Chintana, President Mahinda
Rajapaksa has vowed to eradicate the drug menace in Sri Lanka.