Written by Lahiru Fernando
12 May, 2017 | 9:24 am
A 198 kilo stock of Heroin has been seized from Chilaw in a police raid. The stock has been estimated to be valued at two billion rupees.
The raid conducted by the Puttalam District Intelligence Unit and led by DIG Champika Siriwardena, uncovered the large stock in the Anavilundawa area.
Police say the raid is the largest drug haul seized by a single police unit.
The drugs are believed to have entered Sri Lanka via the North Western seas and were seized along with a suspect, while being transported in a Land Rover SUV.
According to DIG Champika Siriwardena, the Puttalam Intelligence Unit received information of the haul in February 2017.
DIG Champika Siriwardena also stated the fines imposed via Poisons, Opium, and Dangerous Drugs Ordinance have to be raised.
“If not, the whole situation will be a cycle. We will make arrests and fine them. They will return to the trade in numbers. The Magistrate’s Court can only impose a fine of around Rs. 7500. A heroin peddler can earn 7500 rupees in a single hour …”, DIG Siriwardena said.
Responding to the shooting in Piliyandala on Tuesday, May 9, DIG Siriwardena said: “If one thinks that they can stop the police through intimidation of something similar to what happened in Piliyandala, they are wrong …”
Police informants had conveyed information of a drug shipment over the recent days. Thereby law enforcement personnel decided to carry out a raid.
8.45 pm Tuesday, May 9 – Piliyandala
A private car carrying two officers and Police Inspector Niyomal Rangajeewa was passing by Piliyandala during a hunt to nab a drug racket. The private car was used to avoid attention while more personnel were travelling in three other vehicles, said Police HQ.
Approximately 100 metres to the Piliyandala junction on the road coming from Katubedda, two gunmen on a motorbike opened fire at their car – killing the driver – constable at the Anti-Narcotics Bureau – died on the spot.
IP Rangajiva suffered bullet wounds to his head and chest area. He is currently receiving treatment at the National Hospital ICU.
The attack has raised suspicious that it was carried out by a highly organised drug syndicate. The motorbike used in the attack was discovered, abandoned, in Maharagama.
Police constable Chaminda Abeywickrama who was killed at the age of 37, was an outstanding officer in the Police Narcotic Bureau, having been decorated 112 times during his fifteen-year service. He was promoted to the rank of police sergeant, taking into account his sacrifice in the line of duty.
His remains were placed at his house in Welipannagahamulla, Kuliyapitiya until Thursday evening. The remains were then moved to his wife’s residence.
The final rites will take place at the Marawila Public Cemetery with police honours.
He leaves behind his wife, four year old son and eight year old daughter.
Speaking on IP Rangajeeva and the other injured police constable, Dr. Anil Jasinghe, Deputy Director General – Health Services said: “…A breathing aid is being attached due to complications. A surgery was performed on his head yesterday. The police constable is being treated in ward 72 due to injuries suffered on his back, hands and legs. plastic surgery is to be performed later on …”
Four other injuries were reported in the incident:
The eight year old was discharged from hospital on Thursday while the driver of the three-wheeler is set to be discharged in the coming days.
The sixteen-year-old boy is now breathing on his own but is still being treated in the ICU. The sixteen-year-old girl remains in a serious condition, said Dr. Asela Gunawardena, Director of the Colombo South Teaching Hospital.
Another stock of heroin worth around Rs. 35 Million was found in Maradana.
The stock of heroin was discovered in a garbage dump located in a by-road adjacent to the Gamini Theatre, Maradana.
A passer-by had tipped off the police of the suspicious parcel. Police believe the garbage dump may have been used as a ‘drop and collection’ point.
Professor Ravindra Fernando (Chairman of the National Dangeroud Drugs Control Board) notes that there is a delay in implementing the law when it comes to prosecuting persons connected to drugs.
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