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Sri Lanka: Methamphetamine seizure shows changing nature of region’s trafficking

The Sri Lanka Navy’s seizure of 100 kilograms of crystal methamphetamine in January 2021 signaled a change in the operating methods of international drug traffickers in the region, The Hindu newspaper reported.

Heroin was the contraband in many of the previous seizures along the coasts of Sri Lanka and India, but an Indian Customs official said methamphetamine, or meth, may be yielding bigger profits now. “Earlier, large consignments of heroin smuggled via the sea route were being intercepted off the coasts of India, Sri Lanka and the Maldives,” the official told the newspaper. “The consignments originated from the Makran coast in Pakistan. This time around, meth is the main component, indicating that the stuff may now be generating more profit for smugglers.”

The Sri Lanka Navy conducted the January 4, 2021, operation with its intelligence services and the Police Narcotics Bureau, The Hindu reported. The agencies arrested four people and confiscated 100 kilograms of meth and 80 kilograms of hashish. They also impounded a fishing trawler used for smuggling the drugs. (Pictured: In April 2020, the Sri Lanka Navy seized 605 kilograms of meth and 579 kilograms of ketamine from a flagless cargo carrier near Colombo, Sri Lanka.)

Enforcement agencies suspect that high-purity meth is being produced in large quantities in sophisticated labs in Pakistan. The labs use ephedrine extracted from ephedra plants in Afghanistan, The Hindu reported.  FORUM Staff

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