Navy seizes over 04 tons of dried turmeric along with 16 suspects

The Navy managed to seize over 4150kg of smuggled dried turmeric and apprehend 16 suspects involved in the racketeering, during special operations conducted in Northwestern and North Central Naval Commands on 30th and 31st October 2020.

After noticing suspicious behaviour of a group of persons and interrogating them, the Northwestern Naval Command was able to seize a stock of smuggled dried turmeric, during a patrol carried in the beach area of Erambugodella in Ettalai, Puttalam. Accordingly, 2042kg of dried turmeric in 65 sacks, 01 lorry, 01 motorbike and 05 suspects were held during this operation. During another operation in the Periyapadu Beach area in the wee hours on 31st October, the Navy took hold of another stock of smuggled dried turmeric brought to the shore by 02 dinghies and while it being loaded to a lorry. Further investigation into the incident led to the recovery of 03 more dried turmeric sacks hidden by racketeers in a house nearby. Accordingly, the operation paved the way to seize 1600kg of dried turmeric stuffed in 45 sacks, 02 dinghies, 01 cab and apprehension of 08 suspects.

Meanwhile, the North Central Naval Command after having spotted a suspicious dinghy off Vankalai beach in Mannar in the dark hours on 30th October, it had been intercepted as the dinghy reaching the beach the following day. On receipt of further information from the racketeers, the Navy was able to find 508kg of turmeric (in wet weight) in 08 sacks jettisoned into water with the intention of smuggling into the island later. The Navy also held 03 suspects and the dingy during this operation.

All these operations were conducted adhering to strict safety and health guidelines stipulated for the prevention of COVID – 19 pandemic. The accused held during these separate operations were identified as residents of Puttalam, Ettalai, Konthantivu, Madurankuliya, Palavi and Mannar, aged from 20 to 64. After having disinfected the consignment of turmeric as well as the suspects along with the seized items were handed over to the Customs Preventive Office of Katunayake and Mannar Police station for onward legal action.