Probe into origin of consignment
The Finance Ministry recently set up the
special anti-narcotics unit under the direction of Wing Commander Ravi
Jayasinghe. The Unit works closely with the Sri Lanka Customs, PNB and the
Police/STF to hunt for and detect illicit drugs. The twin seizures are the
biggest since August 2013, when police found 260 kg of heroin hidden in a
shipping container that had come from Pakistan.
IGP Pujith Jayasundera
takes a close look at the cocaine.
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) achieved a massive victory in its war against
illegal drugs on Thursday when it detected 274 kg of cocaine in two containers
at a private container yard in Peliyagoda.
“The consignment of cocaine is the biggest ever we have detected in Sri Lanka,
with a street value of over Rs. 4,000 million,” said Police spokesman Ruwan
Gunasekara. This is believed to be the biggest drugs haul recorded in recent
years from the entire South Asian region.
IGP Pujith Jayasundera who visited the scene of the raid praised the PNB for
their achievement and urged them to work towards ending the drugs menace from
The PNB will seek Interpol assistance to probe the origin of this narcotics
consignment which was found among a load of sugar imported from Brazil. PNB
sleuths are also probing whether the drugs consignment was intended for local
distribution or for transshipment to a third country. Drug smugglers are known
to use Sri Lanka as a transit point.
This raid follows on the heels of the detection of 93 kg of cocaine, with a
street value of nearly Rs. 2 billion from a sugar container a few weeks ago.
President Maithripala Sirisena and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake visited
the raid site to inspect the haul and encourage the officers and members of the
Finance Ministry’s anti-narcotics unit and Police Special Task Force who
detected the drugs consignment.
The Finance Ministry recently set up the special anti-narcotics unit under the
direction of Wing Commander Ravi Jayasinghe. The Unit works closely with the Sri
Lanka Customs, PNB and the Police/STF to hunt for and detect illicit drugs. The
twin seizures are the biggest since August 2013, when police found 260 kg of
heroin hidden in a shipping container that had come from Pakistan.
Heroin continues to be illicitly trafficked from South-West Asia to India and
then from India to Sri Lanka, the Maldives and other western countries,
according to a recent report compiled by the Narcotics Control Board of India.
Apart from heroin, cocaine also comes to Sri Lanka and India from South American
countries such as Brazil, Peru, Chile and Bolivia, and is re-routed to Europe
and North America from South Asia, it said.
According to the recently released International Narcotics Control Board (INCB)
Annual Report 2015, Sri Lanka has emerged as a transit point for drugs coming
mostly from Pakistan, Afghanistan and India headed to Europe and beyond.
Narcotics are smuggled into Sri Lanka on a large scale via sea routes from South
India and from Pakistan according to the report. Trafficking of drugs into Sri
Lanka by air, largely through the Bandaranaike international Airport, has been a
regular occurrence, according to the INCB report.
South Asian countries
In recent years, the majority of the heroin seized at the airport has been found
on couriers arriving from other South Asian countries. Cannabis and heroin
account for the majority of drug used in Sri Lanka, although synthetic drugs are
also on the rise. The estimated value of Sri Lanka’s daily heroin consumption is
about Rs. 450 million. Around 45,000 heroin addicts consume about 763 kgs of
heroin annually, not counting other substances such as cocaine and Kerala ganja.
Indian police recently intercepted a consignment of heroin that was to be
smuggled to Sri Lanka from Rameswaram, arresting three Sri Lankans and one
Indian. The Sri Lanka Navy has intensified patrols to detect drug smuggling
boats that cross the International Maritime Boundary Line between the two
The Sri Lanka Navy and the Police Narcotics Bureau jointly detected a large
quantity of heroin, on board a boat which had entered the Galle area a couple of
The Navy’s SLNS Nandimithra and SLNS Mihikatha along with few other Fast Attack
Craft participated in this raid. The Navy along with Police personnel
apprehended 10 Iranians and one Pakistani with the boat used for the smuggling
As part of a global drive to eradicate drug trafficking, Sri Lanka will host the
meeting of Heads of National Law Enforcement Agencies (HONLEA), Asia and Pacific
in Colombo from October 22-28.
Annually organized by the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC),
HONLEA helps participants to discuss major regional drug trafficking trends and
The UNODC is the key inspecting agency on global drug trafficking while the
Commission on Narcotic Drugs supervises the implementation of conventions
regarding control of drug trafficking.
The HONLEA discusses new trends and issues related to drug trafficking and
exchanges ideas and knowledge on law enforcement against drug
trafficking.According to the UNODC, illicit drugs continue to remain among the
highest-value illicit commodities trafficked in the Asia-Pacific region -
fueling violence, corruption, conflict and addiction.
The National Dangerous Drugs Control Board (NDDCB) hopes to introduce a system
to exchange information with other countries in the region to control drugs
being smuggled into the country.