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Sri Lanka Navy seizes vessel smuggling heroin and crystal methamphetamine

Christian Fernsby |
The Sri Lanka Navy has seized another vessel carrying a large consignment of heroin and crystal methamphetamine worth over Rs. 3.27 billion in the deep seas off the south of the island.

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The Navy has spotted the flagless vessel in high seas about 548 nautical miles (985km) off Sri Lankan shores and found about 260kg of heroin and 56kg of crystal methamphetamine in the foreign vessel.

Seven suspects, believed to be Iranians, onboard the vessel were also taken into naval custody.

The Navy said the discovery of the narcotics is a result of an operation carried out by the Navy based on information received from persons aboard three vessels seized in high seas earlier this year. Further, international information exchange, facts revealed during data analysis of satellite communication were also used into good effect in this operation.

Based on these analysis, on March 30, one of the Navy's Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) was sent out for a 14-day operation in high seas. After two days of voyage, the OPV crossed the equator and observed all previously identified sea routes for nine days. On the 10th day (around 11.00 a.m. on 10th April 2020) the OPV was able to spot the foreign vessel loaded with drugs. Satellite images was also obtained with international cooperation during this voyage, which also helped to confirm these routes, in particular.

The value of the recently seized consignment of drugs is believed to be Rs. 3.27 billion. Including this stock, the Navy has seized 687kg of heroin, 795kg of crystal methamphetamine and 579kg of ketamine during naval operations in high seas, this year alone.

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