Sri Lanka has become a transit point for major drug cartels – Sagala
August 29, 2017 02:35 pm
Minister of Law and Order and Southern Development Sagala Ratnayake stated that Sri Lanka has become a transit point for major drug cartels as a consequent of the prolonged illicit activities conducted by the LTTE.
Speaking to the media today (29) at a press forum on the Indian Ocean Conference 2017 that is scheduled to be held on August 31 and September 01, Minister Sagala Ratnayake along with Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana was questioned on the importance of safeguarding national borders from narcotics and other illicit substances.
In response Minister Ratnayake stated that drug prevention is a vital issue that will be discussed at length at the Indian Ocean conference. He stated that the geographical location of Sri Lanka unfortunately makes the island a very efficient and strategically placed locality for major drug cartels to utilize as a transit destination during drug smuggling operations.
He stated that many drug shipments travelling along the eastern sea routes bypass Sri Lanka making it a prime location for the illegitimate sale of narcotics. The Minister also stated that LTTE funded their 30 year war by allowing such transactions to occur in the Northern region of the country. Further, he mentioned that even though the extremist group was eradicated, residual parties continue to conduct drug trafficking activities.
Minister Ratnayake also stated that Sri Lanka has dual responsibility with regards to the drug menace. Firstly, he stated that the nation has a responsibility to the world to stop major drug cartels passing through. It was also mentioned that the government has a responsibility to the people of Sri Lanka to prevent drugs from entering the country.
The Prime Minister’s Chief of Staff further mentioned that several international groups including the SAARC region and Interpol had extended their expertise to aid the government to better curtail the drug menace. He also stated that the Organized crimes and Narcotics division, headed by a special DIG was formed to better reinforce national security. It was reported that a talented team of experts working under the Senior DIG were able to uncover several underworld drug operations that had seeped into vulnerable sects of society.
Minister Ratnayake further stated that the entire region and the world as a whole needs to unify to combat drug cartels. He mentioned that information should be shared between countries to curtail the operations of major cartels. He also stated that the general populace should assist the authorities by providing information of any suspected activity.