Police, Navy on lookout for contraband smugglers

Measures will be taken to arrest those transporting illegal goods through sea channels in order to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus, the Police Media Spokesman’s office said yesterday.

During the recent past the police and Navy had arrested several persons who were smuggling illegal goods, including drugs into the country and seized the contraband.

The police said that these persons carrying these illegal substances via sea routes could be infected with the Coronavirus, or they could come into contact with infected persons during transactions at sea.

It is known that the Coronavirus symptoms do not appear at the beginning and these signs can appear any time between 4-14 days.

The Health Authorities have warned that these illegal goods could be contaminated with the Coronavirus and it could remain on the parcels for many days and has the potential of infecting anyone who comes into contact with it.

Hence, it is highly dangerous to handle such goods without proper protective gear and the police and Navy have been issued a set of guidelines to follow when arresting such suspects at sea and taking confiscated goods into custody.

* The arrested suspects should be taken to the nearest quarantine centre and not the police station.

* Notify the regional authorities and make arrangements to conduct PCR tests on such persons.

* Discuss ways of producing the arrested suspects before the Magistrate instead of taking them to court.

* All police and other officers involved in the investigations and attending to legal procedures of these suspects must wear protective gear prior to handling such suspects.

* All confiscated goods should be sterilized without causing disruption to the chain of custody.

The Acting IGP has issued the above instructions to all police stations to be followed when dealing with suspects who are arrested at sea.

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