Customs officers transferred over Rs 3.2b cocaine haul

Customs officers transferred over Rs 3.2b cocaine haul

July 21, 2017   04:48 pm

Three Customs officers attached to the container yard in Orugodawatta have been transferred over the stock of cocaine recently recovered from the Ratmalana Economic Centre, the media unit of Sri Lanka Customs said. 

As directed by the Director General of Customs, three Customs officials who were appointed for the examination of questioned sugar consignment attached to the Central Cargo Examination Directorate have been transferred. 

They have been transferred to the Customs Headquarters with immediate effect, pending departmental investigation, Customs spokesman Sunil Jayarathne said.   

Seven suspects have been arrested so far in connection with discovery of a cocaine haul, weighing 218.6 kg and estimated to be worth around Rs. 3.2 billion, on Wednesday.

The Ministry of Industry and Commerce said that the cocaine haul was detected by employees of Lanka Sathosa, whilst the supplies were being loaded off the truck.

“A tender bid for sugar supplies, was called on July 18 by CWE (Sathosa) and a private sector sugar supplier called Ranjitha Traders was selected on the same day due to their fulfilment of specified tender criteria.” 

“The qualified Ranjitha Traders thereafter has despatched this sugar container to CWE warehouse at Ratmalana Economic Centre,” a statement said. 

The Ministry said that the country of origin of the container is Brazil and that upon arrival of the container to Colombo Port, the container was taken to Orugodawatta Container Terminal Yard was inspected and re-sealed.

Lanka Sathosa employees received the container fully sealed, it said. 

“They opened the container and began unloading contents from the container (placed on the private owned container transport vehicle) and loading the cargo to CWE goods-lorry.” 

“Moments later Lanka Sathosa employees who were transferring cargo from container to CWE lorry detected the unusual parcel inside the container, stopped their work and immediately informed Mt. Lavinia Police of the suspicious cargo.”

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