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SL Navy intensifies operations to crack down on the synthetic drugs

By: Staff Writer

Colombo (LNW): The government has intensified sea surveillance directing the Sri Lanka Navy to continue major naval operations to crack down on the synthetic drugs such as amphetamine, methamphetamine and ecstasy pills which is a growing public health concern.

Amphetamine-Type Stimulant (ATS) have become the primary drug threat, displacing hitherto used drugs such as heroin, opium or cannabis in Sri Lanka, with a growing number of ATS users requiring treatment services.

The seizure of crystal methamphetamine or ‘meth’ off the coast of Sri Lanka during the past tow years indicates shift in the modus operandi of international drug trafficking syndicates in the region.

. Isolated instances of illicit methamphetamine manufacture and trafficking underscore the need for increasing the awareness of law enforcement agencies about this important issue.

Sri Lanka is also a transit point for drug trafficking as traffickers act as couriers of drugs from Pakistan and India to Europe and the West through Colombo ad Male.

In a special search operation conducted in the Sand Dune Sea area of Talaimannar, the Sri Lanka Navy has recovered over 04 kg (wet weight) of Crystal Methamphetamine, also known as Crystal Meth or ICE, adrift in waters.

The special operation was mounted by SLNS Thammanna in the North Central Naval Command in the Sand Dune Sea area on Sunday (02).

The naval personnel engaged in this operation recovered a suspicious sack adrift in waters and the drugs weighing about 04kg and 500g (wet weight) were found in 04 packages which had been stuffed in the sack.

The seizure of 04 kg of crystal methamphetamine or ‘meth’ off the coast of Sri Lanka indicates shift in the modus operandi of international drug trafficking syndicates in the region. Previous drug seizures had heroin as the main component

The Navy suspects that the smugglers might have abandoned the drugs, unable to fetch them ashore, due to constant naval operations in the area. The gross street value of drugs is believed to be over Rs. 67.5 million.

The seized packages of Crystal Methamphetamine have been kept in the naval custody until they are handed over to authorities for onward legal action, the navy said.

A special operation carried out by the Navy in the seas off Negombo (04th January 2021) led to the apprehension of 04 suspects with over 100kg of Crystal Methamphetamine (ICE) and about 80kg of Hashish and seizure of a multi day fishing trawler used to transfer the narcotic substances.

Dedicated data collection mechanisms on this important issue are still absent in most countries in the South Asian region and even where such mechanisms exist, they may not have the capacity to differentiate between various synthetic drugs.

There is also a need to further improve forensic information which can provide important insights into the origin of synthetic drugs. These are areas that deserve further action by the governments concerned, with possible support from the international community.

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