A suspect pleaded guilty on Tuesday for the possession of five smuggled cigarettes and was fined Rs.400,000 by the Gampaha Magistrate.
The case was handled by the Weeragula Police.
Sri Lanka has seen a surge in the detections of smuggled cigarettes by law enforcement agencies over the last couple of months, with approximately 2.1 million sticks being detected in the month of October alone.
On October 10, Sri Lanka Customs detained a container carrying 1,040,000 smuggled sticks at a container warehouse in Peliyagoda. Subsequent to that, on October 12, Customs officials at Bandaranaike International Airport recovered 29,600 smuggled cigarettes worth approximately Rs.1.6 million from an inbound passenger on a Gulf Air flight, travelling to Sri Lanka from Dubai via Bahrain.
In a separate joint operation between the Police and Navy, three suspects and a vehicle were detained in Hambantota while transporting 7, 000 smuggled cigarettes on October 13.
With one of the highest cigarette prices in the world, Sri Lanka has become a hotbed for cigarette smugglers due to relatively low penalties and high rewards.
A recent study carried out by academics from the Open University of Sri Lanka and University of Kelaniya uncovered that between 2017 and 2018, approximately 583 million smuggled cigarettes entered the country, causing the Sri Lankan government a staggering revenue loss of Rs.17.98 billion.