STF nabs Peliyagoda Police Constable for selling narcotics
Heroin is a grave menace that has gripped Sri Lanka at present. Numerous recent detections thwarted trafficking attempts though it earned an ill-repute to the country as the narcotics hub in the region. From an ex-Prime Minister to a former Police Chief the allegations were levelled against many for aiding and abetting the trade. Amidst authorities busy escorting the evading drug barons back to the country, a shocking arrest was made last week of a law enforcement officer who sold Heroin.
When all eyes were set on the major detection of three kilos of Heroin worth over Rs.30 million conducted by the Police Narcotics Bureau in Wattala on Sunday (June 14), the broke the story of another major arrest made by the Police Special Task Force.
A police constable attached to the Peliyagoda Crime Division who was engaged in a racket of trafficking Heroin was apprehended by the STF when accepting a sum of Rs.50, 000 for a cache of drugs that he had supplied earlier to a narcotics peddler in Ganemulla.
A special STF unit dedicated to bust narcotics trafficking and related activities received information about a regular drug peddler in the Ganemulla area and deployed a decoy to arrest the suspect. The 24-year-old youth who responded to the STF informant’s call agreed to supply 12 sachets of Heroin to a location in Mabole, Wattala last Monday morning (June 15).
The youth who was a heavy addict arrived at the pre-agreed meeting point riding a trishaw along with his 63-year-old mother. When the initial identification signals were exchanged the STF sleuths in plain clothing showed a bundle of cash, which is called ‘show money’.
Show money is a stack of neatly cut papers of the size and look of a bundle of currency notes tied with a rubber band with an actual Rs.1, 000 or Rs.5, 000 placed on to the top and the bottom to be used in arranged deals of purchasing illicit goods.
The supplier whose eyes glued to the displayed bundle of show money swiftly handed over the stock of Heroin to the sleuths. In the next split second he was arrested along with his mother by the officials. The STF found 120 sachets of Heroin each weighing around 40 milligrams. A single sachet is being peddled at Rs.1000 in the underground market.
The sleuths quickly took the two suspects to a safe location and started questioning them as to how he got the drugs and what his mother was doing at the scene. The youth had used his mother to accompany him in such trips to make it not look suspicious. But she too knew that her son was engaged in a racket.
However the answer he gave to the next question took the officials by surprise as he divulged that he was getting his narcotics from a ‘Ralahami’ (constable) of the Peliyagoda Police. A corrupt police officer had reportedly been supplying Heroin to this ground level distributor.
Realizing what type of case they were up against with the initial information sought from the youth and considering the gravity of the information involving a corrupt officer, the STF laid blueprints for their next big detection. They did not believe the distributor at first but when he willingly agreed to connect that officer through his mobile to the sleuths in civvies the STF setup a sting operation.
The suspect revealed to the sleuths that the constable had asked him to sell his Heroin first and pay later. With the specific instructions the suspect made a call to the constable’s mobile phone in the presence of the STF personnel to deliver him Rs.50, 000 for the 120 sachets of drugs. The constable had reportedly sold a 40mg sachet for Rs.500 to the distributor to whom he had sold it for Rs.1, 000 for the addicts.
The phone was however answered by another person who instructed the trafficker to go near the Peliyagoda flyover bridge to meet the constable saying that he would inform the latter also to come to the same location.
The person who answered the call, now learnt to be another fellow constable, had told the trafficker that the owner of the phone had left his phone behind and given another number to try. When the trafficker called that number the particular constable answered and agreed to come to the Peliyagoda Flyover Bridge.
With this confirmation the STF informs the OIC of Wattala Police Station to join the team of detectors to nab the constable. Since the distributor was arrested in the Wattala area the OIC was informed about the progressing detection, in which he agrees to take part.
The trafficker secretly accompanied by the STF sleuths in civvies who maintained a discreet distance reached the flyover and the constable who was also in plain clothing arrived at the scene shortly after on his motorcycle.
The constable who identifies the distributor approaches him and receives the bundle of show money being delivered by the latter. At this moment the officials surrounded the spot and took the policeman into custody. He was immediately informed that they were from the STF and the constable obeyed without protest.
Upon interrogation the STF learns that the constable who is attached to the Peliyagoda Crime Division, a special unit which functions under the Western Province North DIG had supplied Heroin to the distributor even on a prior occasion which was 152 sachets.
The officials then accompany the constable to his unit billet and searched the personal belongings but could not find anything suspicious. He was then taken along with the other two suspects to the Wattala Police Station.
The sleuths informed the STF Commandant DIG Ranjith Perera about the special arrest they made which was reported to IGP N K Illangakoon by the latter. The Police Chief ordered the Western Province North DIG to conduct an inquiry and an ASP was appointed for a full departmental inquiry.
In the meantime the suspects were produced before the Wattala Magistrate who allowed the suspects to be detained in the Wattala Police custody for seven days for further investigations.
Preliminary investigations revealed the arrested constable Sudesh Sanjeewa Premaratne (PC 78960) had worked at the unit for over two years and had been peddling Heroin which was extracted from the detections they make.
It is believed that the constable had arrested the trafficker earlier for peddling Heroin and had then offered to aid and abet him by reducing the quantity of seized drugs when produced before courts to get a mild charge.
Naturally if 500 milligrams of Heroin was detected it was an offence that could be granted bail from a Magistrate Court. If it is more than 500 milligrams the bail should be applied from a High Court according to the prevailing law. If the seized amount of drugs is weighed more than 2 grams pure Heroin as affirmed by the Government Analyst it was an offence liable for Capital Punishment in Sri Lanka.
Realistically the offenders caught in drug heists are more than happy if an officer would take a few milligrams from their seized drugs as it would help them to getaway from Courts with a soft charge.
In rare instances some of these offenders fall prey to corrupt officers who would then blackmail them for the rest of their lives asking to do numerous unlawful things including peddling such extracted drugs from the seized quantities in raids. The distributor in this story was also suspected to have been blackmailed the Constable to peddle such extracted Heroin. This is a very shocking scenario that is to be seen involving the crooked and corrupt police officers.
The Constable and the distributor were again produced before the Wattala Magistrate last Monday (June 22) and remanded until Thursday (June 25). The woman who was produced before that was freed to go as she did not have any link to her son’s racket.
Meanwhile investigations were continuing to arrest the two other Constables who were suspected to have linked to the same case. The senior authorities were also considering transferring the entire unit and deploying fresh officers with a clean history.
Heroin Trade in Sri Lanka
Like any other country even in Sri Lanka the Heroin racket has spread its tentacles in a well organized manner. People like the trafficker who came in this story were the traders at grass root level of a sophisticated social network. The addicts or the consumers buy drugs from them.
Between the consumer and the grass root level trader there is another character call the ‘Tipper’. When an addict is looking to buy Heroin it is the Tipper who will do the sale. Tippers are almost like spies of this well entrenched racket being perpetrated under the noses of the law enforcement officials.
The addicts with their sense and experience know how to identify a Tipper in a particular area. Because a Tipper who is also a heavy addict will take the consumers’ money and order and take it to the grass root level peddler.
Collecting the drugs from him the Tipper meets the consumer in another location and delivers the goods. In this manner the consumer never gets to meet the actual peddler and the peddler is safe from any authorities who come in the guise of consumers to raid. Grass root level sellers get their Heroin from another set of characters call the Transporters. The Transporters will get the Heroin from the Wholesale Dealers and deliver it to the lowest sellers. The wholesale Dealers who are usually linked to the underworld are well armed with men and weapons.
They are usually being shielded by the rich affluent crowd who are the leading figures of society. These figures haven’t even seen Heroin in their lifetime. But a large percentage of the sale goes to them. These people maintain a good rapport with the politicians and the top law enforcement authorities to secure their subordinates to carry out the racket unhindered.
People in various social scales have become part of this racket whether they are the addicted consumers who live at the grass root level or the privileged tycoons who dominate the network at the helm. And the members of the law enforcement agencies strive to put these offenders behind bars at any given point. But things couldn’t get worse when the law makers become the law breakers.
Comments - 2
SL Wednesday, 01 July 2015 01:07 PM
we are on the way to become the Mexico in Asia as part of the dream of Ascharya of Asia
garawi Thursday, 02 July 2015 02:06 PM
<>Not transfer but send them to jail!
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