(LANKAPUVATH | COLOMBO) –New laws will be introduced to destroy illegal drug hauls in front of a judicial officer immediately after the seizure while retaining a sample for legal proceedings, said Defense Secretary General Kamal Gunaratne yesterday (25 Jan).
“This initiative is in the pipeline and it has to undergo several administrative stages at the various state institutions including Ministry of Justice, Attorney General’s Department and Legal Draftsman’s Department” he added.
Gen. Gunaratne expressed these remarks during his visit to the East Container Terminal of the Colombo Port in order to witness the sizable haul of heroin which was seized with 11 suspects and two fishing vessels by a Sri Lanka Navy ship about 737 nautical miles away from the country’s southern coast on 17 and 22 January.
Two vessels involved in the drug smuggling loop were nabbed and one vessel among them has been sailed from Trincomalee to carry a portion of drugs, he also revealed during the session.
Citing about the vessels in custody, Defense Secretary’s message to innocent Sri Lankan fisherman who immensely contribute to Sri Lankan economy, is “do not fall prey to this kind of criminal offences and otherwise they will be brought before the law which is leading to go behind the prison cells”.
Further speaking on the combined operation, he said it was conducted to curb the illegal drug ring which is controlled by drug lords and added that “we will continue similar operations in future too”.
Gen. Gunaratne responding to media also revealed that plans were drawn to nab the narcotic haul by Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) in coordination with the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) and the intelligence services while retaining in sea for two weeks despite the rough sea conditions.
“We strive to thwart influx of illegal drugs via sea routes with the support of law enforcing agencies,” Defense Secretary pledged indicating that entire drug haul which is nearly 350 kilos will be handed over to the PNB with the suspects for onward legal proceedings.
He also praised the Navy Chief, senior naval officers involved, crew of the SLNS Samudura, PNB, and State Intelligence Services for their committed service rendered in order to see a country free of drugs.
SLN believes that the street value of this seizure to be over Rs. 3300 million.