The Sri Lanka Customs is now planning to set up a Marine Customs Enforcement Unit to combat the smuggling of hard drugs or narcotics into the country, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera said.
“There has been a suggestion to set up a Marine Customs Enforcement Unit with boats and special trained personnel. That will improve the Customs service to a great extent to prevent and control narcotics coming into the country, Minister Samaraweera told the media on Wednesday at the Finance Ministry auditorium.
Samaraweera said there had been detections/raids of drugs in the country, but a majority of them were made by other authorities, such as via sea, and not mainly through the Customs.
“After the end of a 30-year war, large hauls of drugs like ‘Kerala ganja’ or Indian-grown cannabis had been made, some of which are entering the country through coastal regions in former war zones, Samaraweera explained.
The use of so-called ‘Indian Hemp’ spread around the British empire with travelling Indian workers, leading to local colonial rulers in some areas, who were previously not familiar with its use, banning its use and leading to a gradual criminalisation of the product.
‘Sri Lanka has had a sea-based service until recently. With setting up this unit it will help to make special raids, Director General of Customs Ms. P. S. M. Charles said.