Singaporean among 14 caught in heroin bust in Sri Lanka

COLOMBO • A Singaporean was among 14 foreigners detained in Sri Lanka over 110kg of heroin worth US$7.5 million (S$10.1 million) seized from an Iranian fishing trawler in the country's biggest drug bust in nearly three years, police said yesterday.

Besides the Singaporean, there were 10 Iranians, two Pakistanis and one Indian remanded in custody in connection with the seizure after appearing in a magistrate's court in Colombo last Saturday, national police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said.

No further information was provided on the identity of the Singaporean or the other individuals nabbed in the drug bust.

"They have had Sri Lankans involved in this smuggling," Assistant Superintendent of Police Gunasekera said. "We are hopeful of arresting them (the Sri Lankans) very soon."

Acting on a tip-off, police and the navy boarded the Iranian fishing trawler off the south coast on Wednesday.

They arrested the crew - the 10 Iranians and one of the Pakistanis - after discovering the 110kg of heroin on board.

"A Singapore national and an Indian were (also) arrested following a car chase on Saturday," he said, adding that the other Pakistani was detained at a house in Sri Lanka allegedly used as a base for drug-smuggling.

The seizure is the biggest since August 2013, when police found 260kg of heroin hidden in a shipping container that had come from Pakistan.

The Sri Lankan authorities have said that such large quantities of heroin suggest that Colombo is being used as a transit centre for drugs, with the narcotics being reshipped to East Asia, according to the authorities.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 04, 2016, with the headline 'S'porean among 14 caught in heroin bust in Sri Lanka'. Print Edition | Subscribe