by Shamindra Ferdinando
Authoritative sources said that of those arrested in two separate raids in Dubai early this week, 31 had been tested positive for cocaine.
Sources said that United Arab Emirates mounted the operation following exhaustive investigations undertaken by Sri Lankan law enforcement authorities.
Responding to a query, sources said that Sri Lankan artistes who were taken into custody had been aware they were being sponsored by Makadure Madush, a notorious underworld kingpin.
One-time Law and Order Minister Sagala Ratnayake, on Thursday (Feb 07), revealed that DIG M. R. Latiff, the commandant of the Special Task Force (STF)was placed in charge of the operation to apprehend Dubai-based gangsters. The team tasked with the operation comprised Organised Crime, Police Narcotics Bureau and the STF.
A spokesperson for now Ports and Shipping Minister Ratnayake quoted the minister as having said: “They followed Madush for a long time and he had a few narrow escapes. When UAE State Minister for Foreign Affairs Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan visited Sri Lanka in 2017, Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and I requested his assistance in this regard. The former UAE Ambassador also supported our efforts. I must thank all of them for their consistent support and facilitation.”
Ratnayake was replaced in the wake of the Feb 2018 Local Government polls debacle suffered by the UNP and the SLFP. Wickremesinghe succeeded him for a brief period. Ranjith Madduma Bandara was appointed the Law and Order Minister thereafter. Since then, President Maithripala has taken over the police.
Prime Minister Wickremesinghe, too, has, in a letter to DIG Latiff, appreciated the successful operation carried out against organised crime.
Sources said that those who had escaped the police were on the run there, but their identities were known. Among the escapees was ‘Angoda Lokka’, one of the most wanted criminals.
Sources said about 80 per cent of top Sri Lankaan underworld leaders were in Dubai at the time of the raid.