Sri Lanka Navy and the Police Narcotics Bureau during a joint operation found a haul of 400 kilogrammes of heroin and about 100 kilogrammes of substance believed to be ICE amounting Rs. 6 billion from four vessels in the international waters some 1111 kilometers away from Sri Lankan shores, the Navy said.
Following intelligence information to Police Narcotics Bureau the Navy deployed its Offshore Patrol Vessels and conducted a special operation in high seas. Accordingly Sri Lanka Navy's Offshore Patrol Vessels Samudura and Sindurala have been on a mission over a period of month as part of this mission. Accordingly, 02 Sri Lankan fishing vessels with over 75 kilogrammes of substance believed to be heroin and 66 kilogrammes of substance believed to be ICE were intercepted in the Southern seas along with four suspects.
During further investigations, a vessel without flag state was seized first, for suspiciously remaining in the high seas, to supply narcotics to Sri Lankan vessels at sea in the guise of fishing vessels. On suspicion of this ghost vessel it was inspected and based on information received a similar vessel without flag state in high seas was intercepted after a four day long mission. During the inspection of these vessels, 329 packages believed to be heroin and another 50 packets believed to be ICE were found.
However, this mission was conducted about 600 nautical miles (1111km) away from the Sri Lankan shores and it took 30 days. During the overall operation it was able to seize 400 kgs of substance believed to be heroin (in 397 packets) and 100 kgs of substance believed to be ICE (in 100 packets). This remains to be the biggest haul of narcotics seized in an operation at sea and they had been measured in kilograms. If these substances are tested positive to be narcotics their value will be amounting to be Rs 600 crores (6000 million)
The Navy has been able to extend its operations up to the equator in a bid to stop this drug trafficking and the assistance of PNB decoys was also received in this endeavour.
This whole drug trafficking network has been administered through satellite telephone conversations. Meanwhile the Navy through its advanced technology managed to box in Sri Lankan multi day fishing vessels and dinghies which came to obtain narcotics as well as the drug supplier who were in the guise of Sri Lankan fishermen. Further, information has been received that this narcotics supply network had been administered from a foreign country over the satellite communication. Meanwhile, drug peddlers who arrived to the beach area of Kudawella in Dikwella Matara to retrieve narcotics were taken into the custody of PNB as part of the land operation of this whole incident.
The investigations are still underway and the seized vessels are to be escorted to the harbour and inspected further before releasing more details to the media. (Darshana Sanjeewa)