Over 920 kgs of seized cocaine worth Rs 16.7 bn to be destroyed

A massive haul of 928 kgs of cocaine seized by the Police and other anti-narcotic bodies over the last two years, which has a value of about Rs 16.7 billion, is to be publicly destroyed this month, Head of the newly formed ‘Organized Crimes and Narcotic Range’ Senior DIG M R Latheef said.

Speaking to the Daily News yesterday, he said this would be the first time such a large haul of drugs is to be destroyed openly.

While observing that the cocaine haul is ready to be destroyed, Latheef also said the advice of Attorney General has been sought to destroy 871 kgs of heroin in the same manner. The current value of the heroin haul is Rs 8.7 billion.

“We have consulted the AG to destroy the heroin now in the stores of Government Analyst’s Department after obtaining samples of them for court purposes. As soon as we get the AG’s nod we will go ahead with it,” he said.

The Senior DIG said there are 1,595 kgs of cocaine in the stores as at present. Out of them, the hauls that have been selected to be destroyed have been found in nobody’s possession and therefore they do not belong to any court case. “Where necessary we will obtain samples, before destroying the haul,” he said.

The decision to destroy the seized drugs now in the Government custody has been reached at a high-level meeting chaired by President Maithripala Sirisena on August 23. The proposal in this regard has been made by Senior DIG Latheef and it has been agreed at the meeting.

Law and Order and Southerb Development Minister Sagala Ratnayaka, his Ministry Secretary, IGP, Heads of Excise Department, Customs Department and National Dangerous Drugs Control Board, the Navy Commander and the Attorney General attended the meeting at the Presidential Secretariat.

Latheef pointed out the price of a gram of cocaine is about Rs.18,000 and the price of one gram of heroin is about Rs 10,000 as at present.

According to the annual performance report, the Police had raided 36,817 Kg of Ganja, 1,302 Kg of Cocaine, 205 Kg of Heroin, 27 Kg of Hashis, 15 Kg of Opium and 74 grams of Morphine in 2016.

A high-powered body, ‘Organized Crimes and Narcotic Range’ was set up in August by amalgamating the Police Special Task Force, the Narcotics Bureau and the Organized Crimes Unit to launch comprehensive operations against the drug menace and the underworld. 

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