By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana
An attempt to smuggle into the country banned cigarettes worth more than Rs.1.3 million by a Sri Lankan returning from Dubai was thwarted by Customs officials at the Bandaranaike International Airport yesterday.
A Chief Assistant Charges Officer CACO (Customs Superintendent) who was stationed at the BIA Arrival Terminal had searched the passenger on suspicion and detected the contraband concealed in his baggage. Customs Spokesman, Additional Director General Sunil Jayaratne told Daily Mirror the passenger had arrived in the country on Emirates Flight EK 650 that landed at 8.30 am.
The 33-year-old man was found to be a resident of Mawathagama in Kurunegala. The sleuths found 138 cartons of a foreign brand of cigarettes, the sale and consumption of which is entirely prohibited in Sri Lanka.
The contraband consisted of 27,600 sticks of cigarettes valued at Rs.1,380, 000. Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect had acted as a carrier of the contraband for a fee promised by Dubai-based tobacco smugglers.
Customs Superintendents K L D Malwita, T Sivapalan, G M Ratnayake, P V Dharmapriyantha with Assistant Superintendents N W E T Randilini, H U I Perera, M Saman Nandana on the instructions of Customs Deputy Director Deethika Gunaratne.
The suspect will be detained until the inquiries are concluded and a fine imposed for the offence.