March 02, 2021
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    President orders to intensify drug raids

    March 02, 2020

    The Defence Ministry issued instructions to the security forces, including the Police, to intensify raids on widespread illegal drug smuggling, including Kerala ganja (cannabis), to eradicate the drug menace and also to prevent illegal drugs entering the country.

    Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. (Retd) Kamal Gunaratne said directives came from President Gotabaya Rajapaksa to expedite raids and to strengthen surveillance on drug traffickers.

    “Sri Lanka Navy (SLN) and Police are conducting raids on illegal drugs very effectively and under the President’s directives. The Sri Lanka Army (SLA) has also stepped into combating the drug mafia,” he said referring to Saturday’s detection of a large haul of cannabis apprehended by the SLA troops together with Police Special Task Force (STF).

    He said the main intention of getting the security forces and the Police under one fold was to create a well-coordinated programme to combat the drug menace.

    “We are committed and dedicated to controlling 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 supporting the Government's efforts to eradicate the drug menace in Sri Lanka and following the directives of President Rajapaksa, the SLA had set up a special unit to fight the drug mafia.

    “The security forces, which eradicated terrorism in the country 10-years ago, have been given a new task which is 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 drug 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 been brought by sea and the Army would continue to engage in special operations to nab drug smugglers.

    “President Rajapaksa and Defence Secretary Maj. Gen. Gunaratna has issued clear instructions to security forces to fight against drug smugglers, especially to save the future generation from the drug menace,” he said, adding that drug smugglers are now targeting school children to entice them to try different forms of illegal drugs.

    According to SLA sources, the army troops have seized over 383 kilos of Kerala Cannabis, including the 320 kilos of Kerala cannabis apprehended on Saturday, during the last two months from the Northern Province.

    The Sri Lanka Navy, which had seized 3.4 tons of Kerala cannabis in 2019, had seized 1,127 kilos of Kerala cannabis during the last two months.

    The Police and the STF had carried out 45,980 raids and seized 5,561 kilos of cannabis, including Kerala cannabis. During these raids, 45,765 people had been taken into custody in 2019. During the last two months, the Police and the STF had carried out 8,227 raids while 1,092 kilos of cannabis had been seized. During these operations, 8,162 people involved in drug smuggling were also arrested.

     

     

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