The Navy intercepted a fishing dhow carrying six Indian nationals with 2, 379kg of beedi leaves, in northwestern seas of Sri Lanka waters yesterday.
Sri Lanka Navy Ship ‘Sagara’ had spotted a suspicious dhow entering Sri Lankan territorial waters crossing the International Maritime Boundary Line from Indian waters. Accordingly, SLNS ‘Sagara’ with the assistance of SLNS ‘Suranimila’ on patrol had intercepted the suspicious dhow in seas off the St. Anne's Church, Thalavila. During further search, 74 packages containing beadi leaves were found by the Navy. Subsequently, the dhow along with suspects onboard was also taken into naval custody.
"Upon them being escorted to the naval base SLNS ‘Vijaya’ in Kalpitiya, the seized beedi leave packages were handed over to the Colombo Customs and fishing dhow and apprehended Indian nationals were handed over to the Police for onward legal action," the navy said.
Following the directives of Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, the Navy has introduced strong measures to prevent drug traffickers entering the Sri Lankan waters in the guise of fishermen. As such the Navy has seized over 27,000kg of beedi leaves this year alone.
Further, the Navy said it would continue to conduct regular operations to curb these illegal activities taking place in island’s waters.