Nine Iranian nationals were arrested with 107.22 kilograms of heroin which were to be delivered to a drug dealer in Sri Lanka, in the seas off the Southern coast today (Mar 24).
The narcotic was packaged in 99 parcels and had been concealed in four sacks while being transported in a trawler, Police Spokesman S.P Ruwan Gunasekara said.
The Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) accompanied by Navy personnel had set out to arrest the suspects on Saturday night upon a tip-off received by the Special Task Force (STF). Accordingly, the suspects were arrested 10.5 nautical miles off Akurala, Galle this morning.
The Police Spokesman noted that there was no evidence to substantiate claims made by the suspects who had left Iran 14 days ago, that they were engaging in the fishing trade.
Dry rations and water which were suffcient for 15 days was discovered in the trawler at the time of the arrest. Further, PNB officials had seized a statellite phone and nine mobile phones which were in the possession of the Iranian nationals.
Mr. Gunasekara noted that CID officials attached to the Digital Forensic Lab will carry out a special inspection on the trawler which is currently docked at the Colombo harbour. The Government Analysts Department will also carry out an inspection on the vessel tomorrow (Mar 25).
Addressing a news conference, the police spokesman observed that 31 foreign nationals have been arrested over durg related crimes this year while the number of Iranian nationals stood at 10 following today's arrest.
Police Spokesman Gunasekara further pointed out that 840.55 kilograms of heroin have been seized during the last three months alone in the backdrop of the highest seizure for an year which stood at 732 kilos last year.
The suspects will be produced before the Colombo Magistrates Court by the Police seeking a seven-day detention period in order to carry out further questioning.
Meanwhile, IGP Pujith Jayasundara has made arrangements to recognise all officials who had carried out the arrest.
(Captured below are photographs of the trawler and the seizure / Police Media Unit)
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