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Sri Lankan Navy arrests Tamils suspected of ‘illegal fishing’ and ‘drug smuggling’

Sri Lanka’s Navy has conducted several operations which led to the detention of 10 Tamils, who they accuse of “illegal fishing” in Eastern and North-western seas, as well as several others accused of “drug smuggling”.

The detention of the 10 Tamil was in the Mannar region and the men were aged between 20 to 57 and had their fishing nets and diving gear confiscated.  Two high explosive charges consisting of non-electric detonators were also taken by the Navy.  The fisherman were accused of engaging in "illegal fishing" by the means of explosives.

The Navy also conducted operations which led to the seizure of 100kg of Kerala cannabis. On the 10 November, Northern Naval command conducted a search operation in the beach area of Madaltheurei and recovered 100kg of Kerala cannabis.

In a separate incident, the Sri Lankan Navy arrested three individuals on the 1 of November suspected of selling Cannabis in Puthukkudiyiruppu and Erukkulampiddi. The suspects had 5kg of Cannabis seized from them. On the 8 November, two suspects were arrested due to the possession of heroin from Thoddaveli. The suspects were aged between 19 to 56.

The Navy also conducted a search operation in the sea area of Vettalakeni on the 5 of November. This led to the apprehension of 2 suspects attempting to smuggle 213kg of Kerala Cannabis. This latest seizure was worth over Rs. 63 million. The two suspects were identified as residents from Vettalakeni, Uduthurei and Aliyawalei and were aged 36 and 41.

All seized narcotics were handed to the police.

Sri Lanka’s “Drug Menace”

Earlier this year Sri Lankan President, Gotabaya Rajapaksa insisted that Sri Lanka would be “free from drugs [the] same way as it was freed from terrorism”. He added that Sri lanka will be “free from the drug menace for the future generations” and that “several measures are already in place to prevent drug infiltration and distribution”. Gotabaya Rajapaksa's comments comes after Sri Lanka’s Defence secretary and accused war criminal Kamal Gunaratne “vowed to eradicate Sri Lanka’s drug menace”. As a result, there has been an escalation in military surveillance and harassment in the North-East.

In recent months Sri Lankan police officers have been arrested for their involvement in an illegal drug ring. The officers arrested would meet international drug smugglers in the India ocean and then bring the drugs to safe houses in Sri Lanka. During the years that smuggling ring was run, the officers gained cash rewards for their services and making “major drug busts”. It was later revealed that some of these drugs busts were staged.

Read more here: Over a dozen police officers arrested 

Furthermore, JVP MP Vijirth Herath speaking in parliament last month claimed that the murder of Makandure Madush, a notorious drug “kingpin” who was under police custody was done to protect 80 politicians complicit in drug smuggling. 

Read more here: Drug kingpin killed to protect the identity of 80 politicians claims JVP MP

Read more from the Sri Lankan Navy

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