The Department of Excise has fired the Excise Guard found with Crystal Methamphetamine in Puttalam with a group of civilians, from his service with immediate effect yesterday, and has warned stern action if any other Excise official was known to be linked to the case.
Excise Commissioner General Ariyadasa Bodaragama ordered to dismiss from service the 30-year-old Excise Guard, who had been on a three-year probation service of non-permanent cadre attached to the Vavuniya Excise Station.
Excise Spokesman Deputy Commissioner Kapila Kumarasinghe told Daily Mirror yesterday, the Excise Chief took a strict decision of dismissing the fresher as an example to any other corrupt officer or sleuth in the department, involved in similar activity.
He said two Excise Superintendents from Excise Division North and Excise Division North Western are conducting comprehensive investigations into the case under the instructions of Assistant Excise Commissioner Northern Province II.
The dismissed officer had reportedly worked in Anuradhapura Excise Station a couple of years back in non-permanent cadre before he was transferred to the Polonnaruwa Excise Station and Kebithigollewa Excise Station subsequently.
The dismissed guard had been found involved in a similar drug raid last year during his tenure at the Kebithigollewa Excise Station where the police had reportedly opened fire at a group of Excise sleuths in an attempted ambush.
He had been interdicted for several weeks until the inquiry was concluded and later released from charges as the police couldn’t find any narcotics related to the ambush.
The guard had then been transferred to Vavuniya Excise Station where he had worked to date. Since July 19th he had not reported for duty claiming sick leave, until he was placed under custody on Thursday (23) early morning in Puttalam with another group of men and women.
Puttalam Division Police Anti-Vice Squad backed by Puttalam Sri Lanka Air Force personnel ambushed a group of persons waiting in a van outside the Puttalam Excise Station entrance around 1.30a.m. on Thursday.
The police ambushed the van when a motorcar allegedly driven by the Puttalam Excise Station Acting OIC had approached the latter. Seeing the advancing police the person in the car had fled the scene in his vehicle whilst the group in the van was taken into custody.
The police arrested four women and three men along with the said Excise Guard who were inside the van and seized 125grams of Crystal Methamphetamine also known as ‘Ice’ worth over Rs.700,000.
Upon preliminary investigations the arrested guard had told the police that they had come on a trip to the Puttalam Lagoon.
Eight suspects were produced before the Puttalam Magistrate’s Court on the afternoon of the same day and were released on bail, whilst the Excise Guard was ordered to be detained for 72 hours for further investigations.
Meanwhile, a senior police officer said two police teams are conducting a thorough investigation into the case to identify the person who fled in the car from the crime scene, who was alleged to be the Acting OIC of the Puttalam Excise Station, as well as to determine how the group came across the narcotics. (Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana)