In a special operation launched by Sri Lanka Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel SLNS Sayura in high seas about 463 nautical miles (835km) off the southern coast, the Navy has intercepted the flagless vessel carrying the narcotics on Saturday, 28th March 2020 around 9.30 a.m.
Upon search, about 605kg crystal methamphetamine (Ice), around 579kg of ketamine were found onboard the suspicious vessel. Also among the consignment of drugs were 200 packets of babul drug and another 100g of unidentified drug pills.
The Navy arrested nine Pakistan nationals aboard the vessel in connection to the incident.
The consignment of crystal methamphetamine has been valued at about Rs. 6.05 billion. This remains to be the biggest haul of narcotics seized in an operation at sea till date.
According to the Navy, this is the third foreign vessel to be detained while transporting narcotics to Sri Lanka, during the past three months.
The Navy on 22nd and 25th February intercepted two foreign vessels carrying narcotics to Sri Lanka and seized a Sri Lankan fishing vessel transferring narcotics from those foreign vessels. As part of that interception, 16 foreigners and 5 locals as well as another 6 locals involved in transfer of narcotics at sea were also held in southern part of the island.
Further, the Navy was able to seize 3,653kg of Kerala cannabis, 762kg of heroin, 3kg of crystal methamphetamine in 2019 and 2,339kg of Kerala cannabis, 739kg of crystal methamphetamine, 438kg of heroin, and 579kg of ketamine in the past 3 months of this year.
Commander of the Navy, Vice Admiral Piyal De Silva, senior naval officers and a group of senior officers from the Police Narcotic Bureau were also present on this occasion when the consignment of drugs being brought to the Dikkowita fisheries harbor.
Defense Secretary, Major General (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne also arrived at the Dikkowita fisheries harbor to inspect the consignment of drugs.
The Police Narcotic Bureau will be conducting further investigation with regard to the nine Pakistan nationals, vessels and drugs seized during this operation.
Meanwhile, Sri Lanka Navy will continue to conduct regular search operations and crackdowns on vessels carrying narcotics in international waters making use of satellite technology for surveillance.
Further, the Sri Lanka Navy, working in coordination with the Police Narcotics Bureau, has taken necessary steps in pursuit of foreign and local partners in the narcotic supply chain.
Addressing on this occasion, Commander of the Navy also emphasized that the fisheries community should continue their living, without falling fall prey to the drug traffickers.