Kotakethana double murder and the illicit drug trade: A special report

Kotakethana double murder and the illicit drug trade: A special report

Kotakethana double murder and the illicit drug trade: A special report

Written by Tharushan Fernando

19 Jun, 2015 | 10:05 pm

News 1st has launched a programme against the drug menace that is disrupting the development of the country and has no value for human life. We reported on this topic through various aspect over the recent past and on the connection between the string of murders in Kotakethana and the drug trade.

Located in close proximity to Kahawatte, a town well-known for the trade of gems is the small agricultural village of Kotakethana. A stream in the village became home to a large scale moonshine manufacturing and is well known among smugglers as Moonshine Spring .When this illegal activity was carried out on a small-scale by a group of villagers, a brother of a local politician gave the boost for it to take place on a much more larger scale.

Many murders took place in Kotakethana from the year 2008. The brutal killing of a mother and a daughter in 2012 is considered to be the first in the infamous killing spree in Kotakethana. Former member of the Godakawela Pradeshiya Sabha L.H Darmasiri was arrested over the double homicide and it was reported that this individual worked as the coordinating secretary to a powerful minister at the time.

The younger victim of the double homicide, 19-year-old Kavindya Chathurangani, was a student at Ferguson High School in Ratnapura and her house is located right next to the house of Raju, the chief suspect in the double homicide. Raju was incidentally the brother of former politico Dharmasiri. Investigations carried out by the CID revealed the double homicide was the result of a dispute over a drug deal,

A villager stated that 18 murders took place in the town and the main reason for this is the drug trade. He added that leading politicians brought this ill practice to Kotakethana and that the strength for this is provided by the politicians and secretaries. He went on to note that Kavindya and her mother were killed because the girl was used as a drug mule and with the condemnation of this practice, the murders took place.

Another resident of the village noted that fear is instilled among all and that there are those who want to continue and spread this trade. The resident said when those in the drug trade started, they did it without any fear. He added that the police officer in town was not allowed to carry out his duty and if a motorbike was stopped, local politicians used their force to stop the police from carrying out their duty. He went on to state that they even used children as mules to transport the drugs and that everything took place as they wished. The resident remarked that the younger generations were ruined because they were taught how to handle a weapon and because of that, fear among the children disappeared.

Another villager added that drugs came into Kotakethana when these individuals obtained power and it was due to drugs that 18 people were killed. The resident said these ministers brought drugs to half these people and those individuals were connected to the murders. He added that the brothers of these politicians have been arrested and later were released, pointing out that there was a very powerful individual involved in securing this release.

Speaking to News 1st, Police Media Spokesperson ASP Ruwan Gunasekara said there is an investigation underway with regard to drugs, but that in order to be tried on drugs, the individuals must be arrested in possession of drugs. He added that the brother of the local politician was not arrested while possessing heroin and that the individual named ‘Wele Suda’ uses many names. He spokesperson said if information comes to light regarding the Kotakethana incident the police will not hesitate to move forward. He noted that information can come to light but a pretext is needed to file a case.

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