Twelve Indian nationals have been arrested, when they attempted to smuggle 8,769kg of dried turmeric into the country, during a special operation carried out by the Navy in the seas off Northwestern.
The navy said that the seized consignment of turmeric along with Indian nationals was brought ashore yesterday for onward investigations.
Having spotted two suspicious Indian dhows in Sri Lankan waters off Kudiramalei Point on Friday night, the Northwestern Naval Command carried out this special operation and intercepted the suspicious dhows.
During further search, about 8,769kg of smuggled dried turmeric in 173 sacks, attempted to be smuggled into the country, was found from the dhows.
Along with the consignment, 12 Indian nationals aged between 19 and 70 and 02 Indian dhows were taken into the naval custody.
The preliminary investigation into the incident revealed that the racketeers had plotted to transfer the consignment of turmeric to a local vessel at sea, to be smuggled into the island.
The entire operation was carried out in compliance with COVID-19 preventive guidelines and the seized dried turmeric stock, Indian nationals along with other belongings will be handed over to the Customs Preventive Office in Katunayake for onward legal action. Meanwhile, the Indian dhows seized during the operation are detained with the Navy, until they are handed over for onward investigation.