The Bangladeshi Rapid Action Battalion arrested five persons over their suspected involvement in the biggest drug haul detected in Sri Lanka’s history, in Bangladesh yesterday.

The Rapid Action Battalion held a press briefing yesterday to discuss details of its operation. The suspects were detained in separate raids on Monday, Bangladeshi news reported. The ring leader said to be M.D. Ariffudeen is on the run.He heads a 15 member drug ring and is said to have connection with smugglers in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Malaysia and China.

The identities of the three women and two men accused of being involved in “an international drug racket” have not been revealed so far. On December 31, Sri Lankan Police seized 272 kilograms of heroin and five kilograms of cocaine during a special operation at a housing complex at Templer’s Road, Mount Lavinia.

The haul is worth over Rs. 2.4 billion.

STF Commandant, Senior DIG M.R. Latiff said the Sri Lankan Police had been in constant touch with the Bangladesh Police regarding investigations into this drug ring. It was reported that the Sri Lankan government sought Bangladesh’s assistance in the investigation. Bangladesh High Commissioner Riaz Hamidullah had assured Sri Lanka of the country’s fullest cooperation.

On January 5, Bangladesh’s Department of Narcotics Control detained one ‘Choice Rahman’ from a house at Dhaka’s Uttara. Rahman was named in a case by the Criminal Investigation Department filed at Uttara West Police Station, as reported by Bangladeshi media. It is said that the three women suspects were arrested based on information provided by law enforcement officers in Colombo. These women had allegedly played significant roles in smuggling the drugs into Colombo.

The two Bangladeshis arrested in the operation were Mohammed Jamaluddin of Bogura and Rafiul Islam of Joypurhat. The two had arrived in Sri Lanka on December 23.

The two suspects aged 44 and 30 were arrested from an apartment on Templer’s road in Mount Lavinia based on a tip-off. Police had recovered almost 9 kg of heroin which was packed into cake boxes and stacked into a bag. Upon further interrogation of the suspects, Police had found a remote controller of a gate and a set of keys. It was determined that the roller gate remote did not belong to the building they resided in and upon further investigation, the two suspects had revealed the location where the heroin was stored at in Kawdana. This house had been used as a safe house to distribute heroin throughout the country, SP Gunasekara said.

On Dec 15, a Bangladeshi woman called Surja Moni was arrested with another cake box containing 1 kg of heroin. Police located the house she was staying on rent in the Ratmalana area and found 31 kilograms of heroin hidden there.

SP Gunasekara said that the heroin found at all these locations belonged to one stock, based on certain identification markings. In addition, Narcotics officers had also recovered 5 kg of Cocaine valued at around Rs.75 million. He said that the house had been used as a place to weigh and packet the heroin and also reproduce outdated stocks of heroin. The Police Spokesman said that so far there was no evidence to suggest any local involvement in this drug racket, adding that this massive drug operation had been carried out by foreign drug operators.


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