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Maldives major seizures put drug enforcement agencies on alert

Drug enforcement agencies have taken note of some major seizures, involving about 200 kg of drugs, made in the Maldives in the past few weeks. Among those detained were four Pakistani nationals, who allegedly operated as couriers.

They were arrested in September second week after they reached Maldives by flight on the charge of possession of drugs. A Kenyan national was also arrested on the same charge.

In another case reported on October 3, the Maldives police seized 98.60 kg of drugs in Addu City and arrested over a dozen suspects. The drugs were in the form of heroin, amphetamines and methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA).

The contraband was being smuggled through the sea route in conspiracy with international drug traffickers, suspected to have links in Pakistan.

About 100 kg of drugs, including heroin and methamphetamine, were seized from a boat in Hulhumale on October 12.

A transit point?

“Tourism in Maldives has been severely hit in the past few months due to the COVID-19 pandemic and, therefore, we suspect that local drugs consumption has also gone down significantly. However, drugs in large quantities are still landing there, raising suspicion that international syndicates may also be using Maldives as a transit point for other destinations,” said a Customs official.

Efforts were on to determine if drugs were being diverted to India too. “There have been innumerable instances of drugs being pushed into the country through transit points overseas, by land, air or through maritime routes. Earlier this year, the Narcotics Control Bureau arrested two women from Mozambique with about 10 kg of heroin at the Delhi airport,” said the official.

In the same case, an Ivory Coast national was arrested in Greater Noida with over 4 kg of the stuff. The seized drugs were suspected to be part of a larger consignment first smuggled to Mozambique via Pakistan.

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Printable version | Dec 3, 2020 11:56:38 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/maldives-major-seizures-put-drug-enforcement-agencies-on-alert/article32913335.ece

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