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Cannabis smuggling operations increase across North-East

Sri Lankan police have intercepted at least two attempts to smuggle cannabis across the Tamil North-East in the last week, as drug dealing continues to rise across the former conflict area.

Tamil Diplomat reports that over 200 kilograms of cannabis was seized by Sri Lankan police after they searched two vehicles travelling from Mannar last week. Meanwhile another smaller seizure of 8kg was also made in the district, in the Talaimannar islet.

The coastal town has become an increasingly popular route for drug smugglers to deliver packages of narcotics which are thought to be produced across the Palk Strait in Southern India.

Smugglers have also looked to smuggle drugs to Jaffna, with Sri Lankan police stopping a fishing boat which was returning to Point Pedro on Sunday. A M Jaffar, Assistant Superintendent of Police for the Kankesanthurai region, though confirmed no drugs were found on the boat.  Acting on a tip off, Sri Lankan police raided the vessel but only found a sack of tamarind and a motorcycle. All 4 men aboard the boat have since been arrested.

Though illegal drug use has increased across the North-East since the end of the armed conflict, many Tamils also worry that the recent spate of smuggling has given Sri Lankan police a new reason to arbitrarily detain civilians.

In Trincomalee, three people who were abducted by unidentified individuals in vans were subsequently revealed to have been detained by Sri Lankan police on drug-related charges.

See our earlier posts:

Drug use in former conflict areas ‘rapidly rising’ (05 Apr 2016)

Millions of rupees worth of cannabis recovered in Jaffna (26 Mar 2016)

Sri Lankan police recover 2kg of heroin in Jaffna (12 Mar 2016)

60 kg of cannabis seized by Sri Lankan police in Jaffna (03 Mar 2016)

Five-fold increase in consumption of alcohol in North-East Sri Lanka
 (14 June 2015)

Genocidal agenda behind increase in drugs in North - TNA MP (10 Jun 2015)

Tamils still face genocidal agendas says TNA MP (07 Jun 2015)

Increased drug problem since Sri Lanka's military arrived in North-East says CV Wigneswaran (08 Jun 2015)

Drugs deliberately introduced to quell desire for liberation of Tamil youth says Wigneswaran (02 Jun 2015)

Unacceptable presence of war criminal soldiers in North-East - CV Wigneswaran (25 May 2015)

Prevalence of drug use raises questions says Wigneswaran (17 May 2015)