June 16, 2020
Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne assured to form a society free of drugs menace, underworld activities, organized crimes and extortion for all communities to live in a just and safe country in the future.
Addressing the print and electronic media at the Defence Ministry auditorium, today (June 16), to brief media on measures taken to strengthen national security and other security measures, he said there would be no room for the underworld criminal to thrive with the swift measures taken under the directives of the President to crush their networks.
“We are determined and every effort is underway to quash all outside operations perpetrated from prison cells by drug kingpins and criminals using mobile phones. All technical measures have already been taken to trace such illegal communication networks”, Maj. Gen Gunaratne said during his first official press briefing since taking office as the Defence Secretary.
He also explained the measures, especially efforts taken against alleged drug rackets and criminal syndicates operating from prisons, challenges faced to contain the spread of coronavirus and the intention of forming the two Presidential Task Forces,
“This is an incremental process and it must be understood that any wishful thinking of a possible overhaul of the entire prison system and alleged activities may not result overnight. The President has clearly stated his intentions in disassociating drug and crime networks operated from prisons and during this limited time period, we have witnessed the changeover that is taking place”, the Defence Secretary said.
Defence Secretary stated that the appointment of a new Prison Commissioner General resulted in uncovering of a large haul of mobile phones and SIM cards from three prions, recently.
“It’s no secret that prisons in this country had become sanctuaries for drug lords and underworld criminals over the years”, he said.
He said information had been received about criminals in the prisons who were operating large scale drug deals and other grave crimes from prison cells and already actions have been initiated in collaboration with the intelligence agencies and the Police especially the STF together with Justice Ministry officials.
Stressing the necessity in rectifying the irregularities in the prisons, he said that the flaws of the existing prison system have been identified and the Defence Ministry unreservedly is engaged as a key stakeholder at addressing these existing paradoxes towards a final resolve.
Replying to a query raised on possible prison reforms, Maj. Gen. Gunaratne expressed that it was an ideal time for such reforms to take place.
“During the past seven months, the Police and the Navy combined operations have apprehended over 1,300kgs of narcotics”, he said adding that a just and safe society to all citizens would be possible under President Gotabaya Rajapaksa’s administration.
Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the Police Narcotic Range, Sanjewa Medawatte added that over 1200kgs of heroin had been apprehended during the past seven months in raids and special anti-smuggling operations which were conducted in deep seas along with the Sri Lanka Navy.
He also said that over the period of time, the Police Narcotic Range was able to lead apprehensions and investigate into 25,000 drug related incidents including large scale smuggling attempts.
Acting Chief of Defence Staff and Army Commander Lt. Gen. Shavendra Silva, Military Spokesperson Brig. Chandana Wickramasinghe, DIG of the Police Narcotic Range Sanjewa Medawatte and DIG Ajith Rohana were also present at the media briefing.