Rs 2 B cocaine haul rocks Colombo

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By Premalal Wijeratne 2016-06-15

By Premalal Wijeratne

The discovery of Sri Lanka's largest cocaine haul, a Rs 2 billion bust by the STF men, concealed in a Shipping Container from......Brazil, yesterday, drew President Maithripala Sirisena and Finance Minister Ravi Karunanayake to the site at the Customs Rank Container Terminal (RCT) Unit at the Orugodawatta Yard.

The STF was brought in by Customs officials who suspected the container held merchandise other than that which was invoiced. The STF team found packs containing an aggregate 91 kilograms of cocaine with a street value of approximately Rs 2 billion.
This largest seizure of cocaine in the country's recent history was concealed in three jute hessian bags marked 'SUGAR' with invoices supporting it. A leading sugar importer and two assistants have been arrested and are under interrogation by the STF in this connection.

STF DIG Ranjith Perera told this paper that following information gathered by the Police Intelligence Services Unit the container had been transported to the Orugodawatta Yard yesterday before it was opened for inspection.

Sources stated that inquiries were being conducted to determine whether the cocaine had been detected by the harbour scanning machine at the harbour, but other sources said there was doubt that the scan machine had detected the Cocaine.
DIG Perera said President Maithripala Sirisena had rushed to the yard as soon as he had received information of this unprecedented Cocaine haul adding that Minister of Finance Ravi Karunanayake had also visited the Orugodawatta Yard yesterday on hearing the news.
Sri Lanka Customs sources said the person who had imported the Cocaine is a rather well known sugar importer who has been in the business for over 40 years. He had declared the goods in the container as being a consignment of sugar.

The Cocaine haul has been handed over to the Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) for further investigations.
The next largest narcotics haul was also nabbed by the STF back in 2014 when traced a Rs 800 million stock in Colombo.

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