- SLA troops recover 320 kilos of kerala cannabis from the North
The Defence Ministry has given instructions to security forces, including the Police, to intensify raids on widespread illegal drug smuggling, including kerala ganja (cannabis), to eradicate drug menace and also to prevent illegal drugs coming into the country.
Defence Secretary Maj.Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said directives came from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to expedite raids and also to strengthen surveillance on drug traffickers.
“Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) and Police are conducting raids on illegal drugs very effectively and under President’s directives, the Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has also stepped into combating drug mafia,” he said referring to today’s a large haul of cannabis apprehended by the SLA troops together with Police’s Special Task Force (STF).
He said the main intention of getting the security forces and the Police to one fold was to create a well-coordinated program to combat drug menace.
“We are committed and dedicated to control drug trafficking to protect our future generation,” the Defence Secretary said.
Acting Chief of Defence Staff and SLA Commander Lt.Gen. Shavendra Silva said his troops were fully committed to support Government's efforts to eradicate drug menace in Sri Lanka and following the directives of President Rajapaksa, the SLA had set up a special unit to fight against drug mafia.
“The security forces, which eradicated terrorism in the country 10-years ago, have been given a new task – to combat – drug trafficking. We have given instructions to all Security Forces commanders, especially the SF HQ Wanni, to take speedy measures to nab drug smugglers,” he said adding that drugs smuggling is a widespread issue in Mannar, Vavuniya and Jaffna.
SLA Chief said the large haul of kerala cannabis which was taken into custody by the SLA soldiers and the STF would have brought by sea and the Army would continue to do special operations to nab drug smugglers.
“President Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Maj.Gen. Gunaratna have given clear instructions to security forces to fight against drug smugglers, especially to save the future generation from drug menace,” he said adding that drug smugglers are now targeting school children to attract them to different forms of illegal drugs.
According to SLA sources, the army troops have taken over 383 kilos, including 320 kilos of kerala cannabis apprehended today, during the last two months from the northern province.
Sri Lanka Navy, which had taken over 3.4 tons of Kerala cannabis in 2019, has taken 1,127 kilos of kerala cannabis during the last two-months.
The Police and the STF had carried out 45,980 raids, taken 5,561 kilos of cannabis, including kerala cannabis and 45,765 people had been taken into custody in 2019. During the last two months, the Police and the STF have done 8,227 raids while taking 1,092 kilos of cannabis and 8,162 people involved in drug smuggling, into custody.
Meanwhile, in a joint sea operation carried out off Galle by the SLN and Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) have taken 68 kilos of heroin and 50 kilos of Crystal Methamphetamine worth around Rs.1,180 million into custody, today. The SLN and PNB are conducting further joint investigations.