The Navy has taken four people into custody along with a stock of turmeric weighing 6,381kgs on board a trawler in the sea area about 10 nautical miles (18km) off Chilaw yesterday.
The Navy said the trawler and smuggled item held by the Navy were brought to the Dikkowita fisheries harbour for further investigation, as it was difficult to conduct a full-scale inspection at sea due to concerns of the pandemic.
The load of smuggled consignment which has been measured to be about 6381kg in wet weight was handed over to the Sri Lanka Customs for investigation, after proper decontamination.
On the assumption that the four suspects had close association with Indian smugglers out at sea, the suspects together with their family members were referred to quarantine process, following the directives of health authorities.
Meanwhile, based on information revealed by the four suspects aboard, the Navy in coordination with the Sri Lanka Coast Guard and Chilaw Police carried out another raid in the town area of Chilaw and nabbed nine more people who were believed be prospective dealers in connection to the same incident.
A minivan was impounded and Rs. 2,242,500.00 cash in their possession were also recovered during the raid. The suspects were identified as residents of Wattala, Katugastota, Kandy, Beruwala and Thoduwawa and were within the age group of 27 to 66 years. It was further revealed that the owner of the trawler was also one among the group of suspects. Meanwhile, the detainees together with their belongings were produced to the Chilaw Police for onward legal action.