Addicted To Drugs, Danger And Death

By Nirmala Kannangara in Negombo- Pictures by LalithPerera

The ‘82’-One of the ill-famed houses run by the local politician’s family that has been bulldozed to construct the water treatment plant

Negombo, the once peaceful ‘Little Rome’ has now become a hub of heroin peddling and a preferred focal point for prostitution, its law abiding citizens alleged.

According to the residents, there is no law and order in Negombo as the Police have deliberately failed to discharge their duties by the people impartially; rather, they are partial towards the local politicians and their underworld gangs. For them, it is a challenge to bring up children in a society plagued with illegal activities – prostitution and drugs in the main. They accused a notorious local politician and his family for the deteriorating situation in Negombo, and queried why the houses where illegal drugs are said to be stored are not being raided by the police.

“There are four houses in Boscopura, Rahumanabath, Canal Road and Dalupothathat belong to this political family where illegal drugs are stored in large quantities. We have seen how people come there to purchase drugs openly, but although we have given information to the police as well as to the police emergency number 119, no action had been taken so far to seal the buildings and take the drugs into custody,” a resident in Dalupotha said.

According to the sources, only the drug addicts and small-scale dealers are regularly taken into custody by the Negombo Police, but not the big-time smugglers or the traffickers.

The hotspot for drug addicts is the cemeteries in the area, and the drugs are sold in shanty dwellings. The houses that store these drugs are palatial and the police are not permitted to enter the premises and they cannot make any arrests either, a resident said.


Lower ranking officers want to clean Negombo

This was confirmed by a police officer attached to the Negombo Police who did not wish to reveal his name. According to him, there are a few lower ranking police officers who want to ‘clean’ Negombo from the menace of illegal drugs and prostitution; however, the high ranking officials who have close connections with the local politicians prevent any raids resulting in hardly any arrests being made in this connection. According to him, even if those who are have the right connections are arrested, they are subsequently released by the police who state that the charges against them were false.

“The Negombo beach behind the police station is one place where drugs are sold openly during early morning and late evening. Fishermen and school children go there to buy drugs but the police turn a blind eye to all these activities as they are continuously bribed. Although the police are not allowed to arrest the drug peddlers, drug addicts are taken into custody frequently as they have no connections to politicians,” police sources said.

They further said how the famous massage parlours- ‘82’ and ‘Lucky Star’ are well protected by the Negombo police who refrain from carrying out any raids into these spots.

“Once I disguised myself as a ‘customer’ and went to the much sought after place in Negombo – the ‘82’ and a group of young, pretty girls were brought before me, and I was asked to select one of them to get a massage. As my intention was to see what was happening but not to get a massage, I paid the entrance fee of Rs.1000 and pretended to feel ill, suddenly, and left. Operating such massage parlours and operating a house of ill-fame are crimes, and those involved can be charged according to the law. The house ofill-fame is operated by the father of the said local politician,” a police source added.

He however said that it is not fair for the people to accuse all the police officers serving the Negombo police for not taking action against the illegal activities that are taking place in the area as their ‘hands are tied’ against taking any tangible action.

Meanwhile, Kumara (name changed on request), who was a drug trafficker but has since reformed and is practising as a tourist guide in Lewis Place,Negombo, told The Sunday Leader how heroin is trafficked from Chilaw and Kalpitiyato Negomboin VVIP vehicles.

“We do not know from where these drugs come but we believe they are from Pakistan. Most of the boats carrying heroin come to Kalpitiya and a few go to Chilaw.  As we are aware that the police will not check the VVIP vehicles, we were not diffident about peddling in drugs,” Kumara further said.

However, Kumara had been arrested once when he was peddling drugs in a three wheeler,and he explained how the local politician had helped him while he was in the Negombo prison. “When I was arrested, this politician was out of the country and therefore I was not in a position to seek my release. I was therefore sent to the Negombo prison, and on the directives of my ‘boss’ I was kept in Ward ‘A’ and was treated very well by the prison authorities. I also got the opportunity to sell heroin to the prison inmates through the jailors, and it was these jailors who peddle drugs within the prison,” Kumarasaid.

According to him, those who work closely with the ‘boss’ or his family are lucky enough to get free drugs as much as they want. However, he had realised that by being addicted to drugs, as his health had started to deteriorate.

“All attempts made by my wife, mother and sisters to stop me from taking drugs had failed. Thereafter my wife and three daughters left me. When I realised that my health was on the decline, and the strength that I had was also waning, I decided to completely stop taking drugs. I had constant body pain for more than three weeks, and somehow I got over the pain aftera period of time. I am now a refined man and earn a good income to take care of my family. My wife and three daughters are back with me and I curse these politicians for bringing drugs into the country. It is surprising why these politicians do not entice their family members to take to drugs,” Kumara averred.


The addicted peddler

Meanwhile, two more former drug addicts revealed to The Sunday Leader how they were involved in drug peddling with two other ‘famous’ drug barons in the country.

Twenty eight year old AmilaSampath who is now working as a waiter in a hotel in Negombo, spoke of how he was addicted to cannabis during his school days, and later on to heroin.

“I was first introduced to cannabis and then to Ecstasy. When my friends did not provide these, I had no money and started taking Corex D syrup which is prescribed for cough. My sole intention in taking drugs was to become an idol amongst the youngsters. My father worked as a driver at SriLankanAirlines and I robbed money from him on a regular basis. I was arrested on three occasions but no one could rehabilitate me,” he said.

According to Sampath, his final attempt to earn money to take more and more drugs was accomplished after he was introduced to a politician in Kolonnawa, who too is in involved in drug trafficking on a large scale than that of the politician in Negombo.

He went on to say that the Kolonnawa politician’s drug store is a large house in Kolonnawa, and although the politician does not visit the place, it business is operated by another group.

“I used to purchase heroin to the value of Rs.25,000 but I was given a large supply free of charge. After I intake the drug, they allow me to relax till I feel good and thereafter they drop me off at the bus stop to get a Negombo bound bus without arousing any suspicion,” Sampath said.

When asked whether he was not afraid to carry packets of drugs, he said that even if the police checked on him, no one would be able to see where the drugs were hidden.

“I know how to handle drugs and that was how I began peddling drugs from Kolonnawa to Negombo. Although I spent Rs.25,000, I sold the consignment for over Rs.40,000 and made a profit,” he added.

Sampathalso said how he had experienced the heroin culture in the Negombo prison and how the jailors were involved in drug trafficking to the cells. “I would give the jailors two packets of Koththumee that was brought by my mother, and in turn I would get half a gram of heroin. Although the prison officers say that it is the relatives or friends of the inmates who smuggle drugs and mobile phones to the cells, it is neither the family nor the friends who do so but it was the jailors themselves who peddled the illegal drugs,” Sampath declared.

However, like Kumara, Sampath too had realized how his health had been deteriorating and had gone to a rehabilitation centre in Kadawala in the Katana electorate run by a Christian priest.

According to Sampath, the rehabilitation centre had to give him Tramadol which is a painkiller to ease off the pain he would feel.

“I was told that one capsule of Tramadol is given to pregnant mothers at the time of delivering a baby to relieve the pain, but the doctors gave me five capsules at a time as I had a tremendous body pain. I was at this rehabilitation centre for one month and left as a reformed person,” Sampath said.


Police always stayed away from us

Meanwhile, Brendon, an English teacher from Eththukala, Negombo, said how he had transported heroin to Kolonnawa from the Bandaranaike International Airport (BIA), Katunayake,brought into the country through the DPL channel.

“I was in charge of smuggling the heroin that came into the country through the DPL channel at BIA to a place in Nugegoda. The famous Kolonnawa politician was behind this racket, and we were sure that the police would stay away from us. There were times when the police call our boss (the politician from Kolonnawa), informing him that a police team was on its way to conduct a raid of the house, and asking us to remove the stock elsewhere. That was how the police ‘tips’off our boss so that we get activated and remove the stock to another place. Although I am no more in the drug business, I assume the police still inform the drug dealers before they arrive to ‘raid’ the houses,” Brendon added.

According to Brendon, it was this politician who supplies drugs to Colombo and its suburbs. He said that powerful politicians are involved with the ‘boss’ and explained how large quantities of illegal drugs are transported all over Colombo in the said politician’s vehicle. “There have been instances where the police too had escorted such vehicles but I think the police officers were not aware of what they were escorting;they may have carried out the orders given to them,” he said.

“I was in the Welikada prison for two years and when I was released, I took stock to see where I had gone wrong, and came to realize that I am a burden to society and to my family. From then onwards, I was determined not to take any more heroin. Although my friends tried their best to change my mind and to drag me to ‘hell’ once again, I was strong enough to keep to my resolve, and became a refined person,” Brendon said.

Meanwhile, Mohan (name changed on request) described how he was involved in peddling drugs with WeleSuda and his three brothers in Wellawatta.

“Before WeleSuda fled the country, I was one of his trusted drug peddlers, and after he fled the country, I was involved with his brothers – Ukkunmahattaya who is now remanded in the Welikadaprison, Thajuwho is imprisoned in Kalutara, and with the other brother, Indika who is also in one of the prisons. I was well paid and was also given an unlimited supply of heroin,” Mohan explained.

According to Mohan, WeleSuda is a vegetarian and acts like a saint although he was involved full time in the drug business. “When his father died recently, WeleSuda could not attend the funeral but his brothers who are in prison were brought handcuffed, to pay their last respects to their father. All the drug addicts who were present at WeleSuda’s father’s funeral were given heroin free of charge, for their use,” Mohan added.


Income from parking taken illegally

Meanwhile, people in Negombo further alleged that this politician and his family make money, illegally.

“Wellaveediya car park and the beach park come under the Negombo Municipal Council but this politician and his family collect the income, which is illegal. It was alleged that they got the contract from the Negombo Municipal Council, but if this is so, the contract has to be renewed every year and new tenders have to be called. But such thing do not happen and this family collects the parking charges,” sources added.

According to them, if this family was collecting the income from the Wellaveediya car park legally, they should take the money openly, but they are collecting the money under the guise of this particular income being channelled to the Wellaveediya church funds.

“This is to mislead the people. We know for sure that the money is collected by this family for their personal use, and certainly not for the church,” the sources added.

All attempts by The Sunday Leader to talk to the priest at the Wellaweediya church failed as he was not contactable.

It was the same situation with the car park of the Negombo Beach Park, sources said. When The Sunday Leader visited the beach park and wanted to enter without an entrance ticket, the man who was issuing tickets wanted this reporter to pay for the entrance ticket before the vehicle was taken in. According to the security guard, it is the Negombo Municipal Council that gets the income from the entrance tickets, but he desisted from showing the parking ticket. “I cannot show you the ticket. If you are from the media you can go in without a ticket, but I will not show you the tickets,” he reiterated.

3 Comments for “Addicted To Drugs, Danger And Death”

  1. Reza Phalavi

    AN excellent article from the fearless Nirmala K. Why doesn’t the Sunday Leader send the entire dossier that it has on the subject to HE President for his action?

  2. Reza Phalavi

    AN excellent article from the fearless Nirmala K. Why doesn’t the sunday leader send the entre dossier of evidence you have to HE President for his action?

  3. laksiri

    this article is a great example to white cloth wearing dirty politicians in the country. sri lanka has changed it name to Kudu LANKA from last few years. when it take position of casino lanka much better.

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