‘Wele Suda’ opens a can of worms:
Politicos in the ring
| One of
the seized mansions
of cash recovered from a house safe
For those who are not so familiar, ‘Scarface’ is a popular crime
fiction film based on a Cuban refugee who arrives in Miami and rises to
become a powerful drug kingpin. Although this is not an attempt to
infuse heroism to a local narcotics dealer who was captured recently,
the story of the most influential drug lord Wele Sudha has semblance to
the blockbuster. Gampola Vidhanage Samantha Kumara alias Wele Sudha or
Badowita Sudha has been recognised as the one of the most influential
drug barons of all time not because of the two hundred million rupees
worth of assets he had amassed in a short period but due to the number
of high profiled individuals in the political arena and the law
enforcement authorities he had befriended.
Samantha with his wife Suji
| One of
the luxury vehicles
Although his assets comprised of several luxury houses and apartments
in Colombo with three super luxury vehicles, Samantha as a youth
struggle to earn his bread and butter about 17 years ago. He had three
brothers and two sisters and was living in a shoddily built house with
timber pallets in the Badowita field. He was called ‘Sudha’ at home and
maybe because he was
living in a house in the field, was later called ‘Wele Sudha’ or
The police first arrested Samantha in 1998 when he was 19.
Walana Panadura Anti Vice Striking Unit led by now DIG D R L
Ranaweera and now Chief Inspector Duminda Balasuriya raided this small
house on a tip off. The police team break open the timber door to find a
scrawny youth engaged in making small sachets of Heroin.
It was learnt that he was supporting his father’s business of
distributing Heroin in Dehiwala, Mount Lavinia and Badowita areas. His
father, Gampola Vidhanage Dayaratna was a notorious Kasippu dealer in
Dehiwala area. He had a well established distribution network of illicit
liquor in the Dehiwala town and its suburbs for a long time before he
was addicted to heroin.
Later he started distributing heroin which was a lucrative trade. He
associated his four sons for the illicit business but only Samantha had
managed to take over the lucrative trade, whilst his siblings simply
At the day of the raid Samantha was packing heroin in tiny sachets
which his father paid him Rs.50 per sachet.
The Walana Panadura Anti Vice Striking Unit handed Samantha over to
the Mount Lavinia Police, who was then produced before Mount Lavinia
High Court and remanded. After spending a year in the prison he was
released on bail. His career never ends there.
He was again nabbed by the Police Narcotics Bureau in 2001 with a
kilogram of heroin and an assault rifle. When the case was being heard
at the Colombo High Courts he was granted bail and released by his
father. Since then not a single clue of Samantha was found. Yet his
illicit trade was flourishing day by day.
According to narcotics specialists the secret behind the success of
Wele Sudha’s business was that he never tampered heroin with rubbish to
gain big profits. Amidst other substandard distributions of heroin
Sudha’s products quickly captured the market making him a trusted
distributor. He even included a brand logo to his sachets such as an
eagle, a pigeon and a bear. The addicts are pretty much familiar with
his products due to unmatched quality.
Soon he became the leading distributor on the Southern coastal belt
and then through out the island. He has a well established distribution
network involving a large number of people who engaged in dealing and
Wele Sudha at the PNB s
Sudha had used his own unique methods to carry out his illicit
business which is far advanced than the conventional methods the dealers
used to sell their Heroin. Because of this it has been an impossible
task for the law enforcement authorities to track him.
It was learnt that even close associates who are spending long term
prison sentences were also actively engaged in his ring of dealers and
also act as links between him and other fresh buyers to avoid police
In early 2011 Sudha leaves Sri Lanka with his wife Gayani
Priyadarshani alias Suji with fake passports. After spending sometime in
Dubai and Malaysia in 2012 his wife returns to the country, where she
was taken into custody at the Bandaranaike International Airport. Having
questioned her police recover a large sum of cash and gold jewellery as
well as a list of luxury property Sudha had owned.
Luxury residences included a Rs.25 million property in Colombo 07, a
Rs.20 million property in Rajagiriya, Rs.15 million property in
Pannipitiya, Rs.10 million property in Madiwela, two houses in
Kollupitiya worth over Rs.50 million, two lands in Dehiwala and Nedimala
worth over Rs.30 million. He had owned three luxury vehicles including a
BMW, over three kilograms of Gold worth around Rs..20 million and cash
amounting to Rs.18 million deposited in the People’s Bank.
Since 2011 Sudha was operating from Pakistan, Singapore, Malaysia and
Dubai engaged in high scale international drug trafficking syndicates to
send Heroin to Sri Lanka. Even several recent major detections of heroin
is reportedly linked to Sudha and his associates.
The Interpol arrested Sudha while attempting to leave Pakistan and
was handed over to a special CID team that brought him back to Sri Lanka
on January 14. The story never ended there. Everybody thought by
arresting Sudha the heroin menace would be over in Sri Lanka but each
and every detail he divulged on interrogation made the case more
complicated and controversial.
It was then realised that the arrest of ‘Wele Sudha’ was just the tip
of the iceberg, which revealed that the narcotics problem in the country
ran much deeper with sharks of the industry and those who have been
protecting his trade to be brought to light.
There is evidence to show that he had alleged connection with a
leading politician in the previous regime and a former Inspector General
of Police as well as several other persons who were in his monthly
payroll of millions of rupees.
A police investigation last week revealed that Colombo District UPFA
Parliamentarian Duminda Silva had allegedly been receiving money from
‘Wele Sudha’. Samantha had reportedly divulged MP Silva’s name as one of
the closest politicians to whom he had paid Rs.2.5 million a month.
The detectives acting on this information sought a court order to
all the bank accounts of MP Silva, Wele Sudha and his wife to
understand any alleged transactions between these parties. They will
check over 50 accounts in top banks and financial institutions with the
assistance of the Financial Investigation Division of the Central Bank.
Earlier the officials of the Criminal Investigation Department found
that six persons were directly involved with his trade. They included a
Colombo District Parliamentarian, a former IGP, two Police Sub
Inspectors and a Police Sergeant and renowned drug dealer in Maradana.
Gathering information from one of the many other suspects questioned
the police finally learnt that former IGP and former Secretary to the
Ministry of Law and Order Mahinda Balasuriya was also connected. But it
was later reported that Mahinda Balasuriya had left the country few days
Some of the latest investigations had revealed that ‘Wele Sudha’ had
paid in thousands of rupees for foreign prostitutes associated by a
Parliamentarian in a luxury apartment.
Likewise many more secrets are coming to light every now and then
that may connected to certain controversial political hierarchy of the