During a joint operation conducted by the Sri Lanka Navy and the Coast Guard in the seas northwest of the island today (14th November 2019), 04 Indian nationals had been apprehended with a large haul of beedi leaves.
Having spotted a suspicious fishing dhow in the seas off Kudiramalai, Kalpitiya by the Navy, a Sri Lanka Coast Guard Ship patrolling in the northwestern seas had been sent out to intercept the suspicious dhow. After the suspected vessel was approached, it had been identified as an Indian dhow trespassing on the island’s territorial waters. During further search, approximately 1400kg of beedi leaves in 46 packages had been recovered and 04 Indian fishers aboard were subsequently taken into custody.
The suspects are at the age of 26, 34 and 44. It is believed that the suspects have attempted to smuggle the consignment to the country by boat, to hand over it to smugglers operating in the country. The suspects along with the stock of beedi leaves will be handed over to the Colombo Customs for onward investigation. Meanwhile, the Indian fishing dhow was escorted to the naval base SLNS ‘Vijaya’ for further investigation.
During another combined operation carried out by the Navy and the Coast Guard on 12th November 2019, 03 Indians attempting to smuggle a large consignment of beedi leaves in Sri Lanka’s territorial waters were held.
The Sri Lanka Navy and the Sri Lanka Coast Guard have been conducting regular operations to curb such smuggling activities in Sri Lankan waters, so that smugglers find it difficult to carry on their nefarious activates out at sea.