drug lords' police connection
The first detection of heroin in Sri Lanka was made in 1981.
Today, it is believed tens of thousands of Sri Lankans, mostly youth,
are addicted to heroin.
Most of the
convictions in heroin-related cases are for possessing minute quantities
of heroin. Such convicts are often sentenced to jail and confined
with other addicts. Heroin is freely available in prisons. The convict
comes out of jail as a hard-core heroin addict or a dealer. He obtains
information from other prisoners about suppliers and thus becomes
a grave danger to society.
the police, there are 21 godfathers who smuggle in heroin. They
live in palatial houses, mostly in Colombo 7. The biggest dealer
lives in Ward Place in a palace with swimming pool and dozens of
luxury vehicles. Neither he nor the other 20 druglords have ever
been arrested or charged in a court of Law. They are patronized
by politicians, senior police officers and are members of many charities.
The clergy often frequent their abodes. No one would ever dare to
There are 20
odd rehabilitation centres around the country. There are touts hanging
around schools to accost children to hideouts where heroin is sold.
The first few sniffs or puffs are given to children free. They keep
a record of the children who are brought. A few more shots are given
till they become drug dependent. Then there are other children who
have become addicts and are given free dosage of heroin provided
by their friends. We have one of the highest percentage of murder
and we consume more alcohol than people in most developed countries
- coming a close second to Russia.
From the Jaffna
peninsula, we seldom hear of reports on heroin addiction. In one
rare case, a man who sold few packets of heroin in the Jaffna town,
was abducted. What happened to him, nobody knows. It is alleged
that the LTTE earns a lucrative income through running a worldwide
drug smuggling network. But not a grain is found or sold in Jaffna.
The only kingpin
who was arrested was Mohammed Noor alias Kudu Noor. What happened
behind the close doors of Police at weekly Intelligence Conferences
shows how helpless the police big wigs are and how powerful the
drug barons are.
Bandaranaike by a letter dated March 5, 2001 appointed DIG Sirisena
Herath, who had been unfairly transferred by the President herself
at the behest of the then minister Anuruddha Ratwatte, as the head
of a team to eradicate underworld crimes. In paragraph 1 of the
letter, the President ordered the setting up of a special unit to
follow up criminal cases without delay and a senior official of
the AG's department was to serve in this unit. She also directed
a new action plan for combating underworld crime. One of the most
important recommendations was to transfer those who have completed
three years in the Police Narcotics Bureau. She also ordered that
the Panadura vice-squad be brought under Mr. Herath who was the
then DIG/Crimes and in charge of the newly-formed Terrorist Investigation
created such uproar within the Police Department that even the Presidential
directions were ignored. The Narcotics Bureau never came under the
Then came a
period which spelt disaster to the heroin trade. There was intense
rivalry between the Narcotics Bureau and the newly formed TID. In
April 2001, the newly formed unit (TID)headed by Inspector Nimal
Fernando detected the largest consignment of heroin ever detected
in a single operation. The consignment, 34 kilos of heroin, was
detected in Chilaw, one of the infamous entry points of heroin to
period, the Police detected 2 kilos, the Narcotics Bureau 42 kilos,
the TID 40 kilos and the Customs 17 kilos, totalling nearly 100
kilos. The addicts were seriously affected without heroin in the
open market. Some wept; some took alternate drugs and others committed
suicide. The withdrawal symptoms had devastating effect on the addicts.
Fernando detected this consignment of heroin, he had to get information
from informants who were associated with the drug barons. The informants
are people involved in the drug trade. They know the time and the
place of arrival of boats from India. Often the detectives will
have to hire boats and go deep into Indian Ocean to bust drug smuggling
operations in the high seas. There are plants of the drug barons
who give false information to the detectives to mislead them.
will not give information for the love of the motherland; they have
to be coaxed and cajoled to part with information on the promise
of a reward which is more than the share of profit they would get
from the drug baron. Some times they request a part of the contraband.
It is an accepted
principle that the police in order to crack down a bigger crime
often have to become accessory to a smaller crime. The civil society
will frown upon such methods. But criminals and detectives are like
partners in a joint venture. If one analyses the CIA or any other
reputed intelligence agency, he would soon realize that thousands
have been murdered by the agents of these agencies to protect democracy
or their interests.
took into custody the men and their cellular phones. These phones
like in the case of crickter Mohammed Azhar-uddin and the bookies
showed the close nexus the dealers had with some officers of another
law enforcement agency. They have been in constant contact with
at least one officer of this agency. No one had been able to transfer
him from his post.
after was like a Hollywood movie where the bad guys are the supposedly
good guys. Every single informant of IP Fernando was arrested by
this agency and remanded. IP Fernando himself was subjected to an
investigation for bribery. The Barons had the final laugh. Every
day more than 100 persons become addicts. But let's not forget there
is no heroin or drugs in the land of Prabahakaran. (Next week the
arrest and the release of Kudu Noor).