The Sunday Leader

Colombo Now A ‘Hard Target’ For Drug Peddlers

by Ifham Nzam

Deputy IGP Priyantha Jayakody

Colombo has now become a hard target for drug peddlers and this is evident with the number of arrests made by the police over the past several weeks.

There are concerns of political influence in the smuggling of heroin into Colombo but the police insist they have no evidence to back those claims.

A senior police official stressed that the law enforcement agencies are geared to put an end to the drug menace in the country.

“You can see how we faced these challenges this is also considered as a new challenge and you can see how we are reacting to that but don’t forget that immediately after the recent shooting incident in Piliyandala, the very next day in Chillaw under the supervision of  the DIG of Wayamba the police seized 200kg of heroin,” Police Media Spokesman, Deputy Inspector General of Police Priyantha Jayakody told The Sunday Leader.

The recent killing of a policeman in an ambush in Piliyandala,came as a big surprise just when the police began to step up raids on narcotics dealers and smugglers.

During May  more than 200 kg of heroin have been detected by the police as part of a major operation to seize narcotics.

“We have observed according to a UN report that Colombo is considered as a soft target by drug peddlers. In reports published very recently you will find that Colombo has become a hard target,” DIG Priyantha Jayakody said.

The police spokesman said Sri Lanka is situated in a very crucial and a very important position on the global map because the east and west naval route is very close to the island and is an important geographical location.

“We are also situated in between two major narcotic dens called the golden triangle and the golden crescent. It has become a hub that is what you can notice most of these detections. However, since last year and this year during the first quarter we have observed huge amounts of cocaine detection on Sri Lankan soil but investigations by narcotics officers have found that cocaine is not being used in Sri Lanka,” he said.

He said that locals hardly use cocaine but a huge quantity has been detected in Sri Lanka in the recent past and there is a strong suspicion that Sri Lanka is being used as a transit point to distribute cocaine.

“Most of these detections were in containers. These are very crucial detections. The heroin we detected recently in Chilaw was 200kg and it was the second  largest detection. Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran are the countries in the golden crescent and Laos, Myanmar and Thailand are in the golden triangle and usually we get heroine from the golden crescent,” he said.

The police spokesman says busting heroin and drug smuggling is the biggest challenge the police is facing in recent times.

“The Sri Lankan Police has been facing several challenges during its history of 150 years but you can see how we faced these challenges. This is also considered as a new challenge and you can see how we are reacting to that,” he said.

“There are allegations that politicians are involved in heroin smuggling but we don’t have evidence to back those claims. There may be a few politicians involved but this is not on a top level,” he said.

The police spokesman says the police have zero tolerance to inference, especially under the 19th amendment and the police commission is empowered to ensure the independence of the police.

“I should say the Influence of politicians in the police is zero. We are always looking after people who are involved in these drug detections and they will be rewarded. We have launched operations to eradicate drugs from this country and that war is an ongoing war and we may face challenges in different aspects, different angles but the police will never stop the operations to eradicate the drug menace and we will fight until the last moment to apprehend  all these culprits including the drug dealers, the middle man and the key people who are importing it. The Chilaw detection is the biggest through the sea shore by the coast,” he said.

The police spokesman says there are currently 10 Iranians in custody for transporting heroin to Sri Lanka.

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