Navy seizes over 3538kg of dried turmeric attempted to be smuggled into the country

During special operations conducted in the past couple of weeks, the Navy managed to seize over 3538kg of dried turmeric attempted to be smuggled into the country and apprehend 07 suspects including 03 Indian nationals.

After having spotted a suspicious Indian dhow close to the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) off the Kudiramalei Point, Puttalam on 12th December 2020, the Northwestern Naval Command had searched the suspicious vessel by using Inshore Patrol Crafts. The dhow was loaded with 2404kg and 300g of dried turmeric in 64 sacks, attempted to be smuggled. Along with the stock of dried turmeric, 03 Indian nationals were also held by the Navy. It is suspected that the smugglers might have plotted to transfer the stock of turmeric to a local vessel at sea.

In another search operation, the Northwestern Naval Command was able to recover 480kg of dried turmeric in 10 sacks, after searching a suspicious dinghy in the Kalpitiya Dutch Bay on 11th December. The Navy also seized the suspicious dinghy and apprehend 02 suspects in connection to this incident.

In another development, the North Central Naval Command found 654kg of dried turmeric stuffed in 18 packages, after intercepting a suspicious dinghy in the sea area of Vankalipadu, Mannar on 20th November. The operation also made way to nab 02 suspects and seizure of the suspicious dinghy.

All these operations were carried out adhering to safety guidelines stipulated for the prevention of COVID-19. The stock of turmeric held in the seas off Kudiramalei Point is being detained in naval custody for onward investigation. Meanwhile, the apprehended Indian nationals and their dhow were repatriated to the Indian waters, due to COVID-19 concerns. The suspects held in Kalpitiya and Mannar were identified as residents of Kalpitiya and Mannar, from 31 to 37 years old. Meanwhile, the remaining stocks of dried turmeric and suspects were handed over to the Customs Offices of Katunayake and Jaffna for onward investigations.