Sri Lanka seeks aid to curb drug trafficking

Sri Lanka seeks aid to curb drug trafficking

Sri Lanka Law & Order Min
Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Tilak Marapana and Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka take part in a press conference in Colombo on August 29, 2017. (Photo: AFP/Ishara S. Kodikara)

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka will appeal for global assistance in cracking down on drug cartels increasingly using the island as a transit hub for smuggling cocaine and heroin, a minister said Tuesday (Aug 29).

Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayaka said an unprecedented spike in cocaine seizures, a drug relatively uncommon to Sri Lanka, suggested it was emerging as a key transit point for smugglers.

"Sri Lanka is a transit point for mass scale drug dealers," he told reporters in Colombo.

"We have a responsibility to prevent and stop this."

Sri Lanka's strategic position between Europe and Southeast Asia had made it an attractive location to offload drugs, Ratnayaka said, adding that he would ask foreign delegates at an upcoming India Ocean summit in Colombo for assistance in smashing the trade.

Sri Lankan authorities found more than 200kg of cocaine in a consignment of sugar that came through Colombo's main port last month in just the latest high-value seizure in recent times.

Police found another 800kg of cocaine concealed in a timber shipment in December last year, and a separate 90kg stash six months earlier.

Heroin seizures have also been rising, including a bust in May where police found 200kg of heroin in a car north of Colombo.

Source: AFP/ad