Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury
According to a Sri Lankan newspaper Ceylon Today, startling new information has been released about a huge narcotics seizure. There are indications the war on drugs has intensified in Sri Lanka over 2018, ending the year with this massive narcotics seizure. On December 31, 2018, the Sri Lankan Police Narcotics Bureau (PNB) conducted a raid on a large, upscale house in Dehiwala, south of Colombo, where the house was being occupied by two men from Bangladesh, ages 35 and 38. During the raid, police seized over 272kg of heroin and 5kg of cocaine, with a combined street value of US$20 million. A police spokesman states this narcotics seizure from Islamic gangs is the largest haul of heroin ever recorded in Sri Lanka. In December 2018, over 500kg of heroin was seized in Sri Lanka, while police say 736kg of heroin was seized over the year of 2018.
According to the report, A 23-year-old Bangladeshi woman was arrested along with 32 kg of heroin, with a street value of Rs. 384 million, at a safe house in Ratmalana on December 16, 2018 evening, a senior Policeman said. The suspect woman was initially picked up from a location in neighboring Dehiwala by undercover sleuths from the Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) who had operated on a tip-off.
At the time of her arrest in Dehiwala, the suspect was in a possession of one kilogram of heroin and subsequently led sleuths to the larger haul of the narcotic at Ratmalana, he added. Investigators are certain that the woman was not a ‘lone wolf’ operator and are searching for other contacts both in the country and elsewhere.
According to sleuths close to the investigation the suspect is believed to have been involved in the narcotic trade for a considerable period of time. At the time of her arrest the suspect was living in a rented house.
On December 31, 2018 Sri Lanka’s largest English newspaper The Island in a report said, the arrested drug dealer had brought the drugs into the country from Afghanistan via sea and air and then had used luxury vehicles to transport heroin to the house in Dehiwala. The two men had also procured valuable properties in Colombo using the money made from the drug racket, according to police.
Dehiwala: The drug distribution hub:
The region of Dehiwala, south Colombo, has a large population of Muslims; considerable Islamic gang activity is concentrated there for the illegal drug trade. Most of the drugs seized by Sri Lankan authorities in December 2018 have identified the Dehiwala area as being the central distribution hub for the country’s drug trade. The two Bangladeshi men arrested for the latest historic drug seizure were living a lavish lifestyle in a large luxurious home, and the drugs were being transported using their expensive, high-end vehicles. Dehiwala is known for its high-income neighborhoods where these Islamic gang members led affluent lifestyles, owning many valuable properties in the area and laundering money into area businesses owned by Muslims.
Drug money goes into terrorism:
Beneath the polished exterior of these Bangladeshi drug traffickers, there is a sinister connection to merciless Islamic gangs and terror. Locals say these Islamic gangs are waging “chemical warfare” on non-Muslim families by creating a hard drug epidemic to destroy their communities, especially since the Islamic gang members typically do not use the drugs they are distributing into the local Sinhalese communities. The heroin seized in Sri Lanka comes from Afghanistan, by air and sea. The proceeds are used to finance terror networks across the world, so these recent historic drug seizures have likely had a direct impact on the global war on terror, possibly saving the lives of many innocent people.
Over the last few years, the drug problem in Sri Lanka has become so severe that in mid-2018, the government announced an end to the almost 50-year moratorium on the death penalty for convicted drug dealers. Usually, a convicted drug dealer has his or her death sentence, by hanging, commuted to life in prison, but this may no longer be the situation, as President Sirisena stated that he “was ready to sign the death warrants.” Despite criticism from human rights lobbyists in Sri Lanka, who tried unsuccessfully to eliminate the death penalty in 2018, the success of Filipino President Duterte’s war on drugs is being cited as a good starting point, because Sri Lanka has become an important destination for international drug smuggling. People believe these Islamic gangs have become so powerful in Sri Lanka that they are creating an underground army to become a serious threat to the government.
These fears reached critical levels in Sri Lanka when a conspiracy to assassinate President Sirisena, along with two top political leaders, was revealed in late October 2018. An investigation discovered the assassination plot was connected to a network of Islamic gangs in the criminal underworld, which resulted in some political upheaval within the coalition government. The war on drugs in Sri Lanka has become an issue of national security, so Duterte-style counter measures are seen as necessary for the government to maintain control against the growing influence of the criminal underworld led by dangerous Islamic gangs that have eliminated all other rivals in the illegal drug trade. After the complete eradication of the LTTE terror network in 2009, merciless Islamic gangs have emerged as the leaders of the criminal underworld in Sri Lanka.
There is an important connection to Bangladesh with these massive drug seizures. International networks of Islamic gangs from Bangladesh are notorious for human trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, weapons, fraud and drugs. These gangs are based inside Bangladesh, a country that has a major problem with organized crime, corruption and Islamic jihad activity. In 2018, over 650 Bangladeshi illegal migrants were apprehended trying to enter the US over the Southwest border. In one case from 2018, a major human trafficker from Bangladesh was arrested while living in a Mexican hotel close to the US border. Much more work must be done in order to stop ruthless Islamic gangs from infiltrating other countries, as they have direct links to international Islamic terror networks through the drug trade in Afghanistan.
ISI’s hands behind narco-trade:
The overall world production of heroin is centered in the narcostate of Afghanistan, which has the world’s largest opium poppy plantations, tightly controlled by the Taliban. Reliable statistics on world opium production do not include Pakistan as a major source of opium, plus opium grown in Pakistan is more expensive. Occupational military forces by the US have done very little to deter the opium farmers in Afghanistan, which experienced peak levels in 2017. The highest growth of opium poppies comes from the southern provinces of Afghanistan adjacent to the Pakistan border. For the manufacture of heroin, Afghanistan has the world monopoly of export grade heroin with over 500 estimated manufacturing facilities. Although the heroin from the historic seizure is said to originate from Pakistan, it was likely grown and manufactured in Afghanistan in the southern border provinces for cheap shipment into Pakistan for further distribution through a criminal network of Islamic gangs there. The area of Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan is known as the Golden Crescent in the illegal opium drug trade.
Sri Lanka as a distribution hub in the world drug trade is a relatively new phenomenon, so there is not much supporting data aside from some recent massive drug seizures. However, the expected shipping route is by water from the coast of Pakistan through the Arabian Sea to the busy port of Colombo. Major shipments of heroin are often transported through shipping containers and the heroin may change ships in the ocean after leaving the port in Pakistan, as one seizure from a Sri Lankan fishing boat revealed.
Pakistani spy agency Inter Service Intelligence (ISI) has been dealing in drugs and counterfeit Indian currency notes for many years, which is one of the main sources of ISI’s fund which goes to various jihadist and militancy groups. International known infamous drug cartel Dawood Ibrahim is one of the key operatives of ISI in running this nefarious trade throughout the world.
ISI buys heroin from the Afghanistan-based Talibans at a fixed rate, which is several folds lower than the international market price. Talibans prefer selling drugs to ISI instead of individual buyers as they get the payment in advance. After buying the consignment from Afghanistan, heroin in packs of 500 grams each are transported to Pakistan in military vehicles as well as vehicles of the Pakistani spy agency. In Pakistan, the consignments are handed over to Dawood Ibrahim’s men with specific instructions of how and where the sales proceeds should be distributed. Accordingly, Dawood Ibrahim’s D-Company men send the consignment to different nations and once the drugs are sold, cash received from the sale are distributed amongst various jihadist and militancy groups as per ISI’s directives.
More about Dawood Ibrahim:
Dawood Ibrahim is the notorious godfather of illegal drug dealings and is Number 3 on the FBI’s 10 Most Wanted List since 2011 as the mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai bombings which killed 257 people and injured 1400. He has links with Al Qaeda, AQIS, Lashkar e Toiba, Jamaat e Islami as well as other jihadist and Islamist outfits in India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Afghanistan. Dawood also maintains links with Philippine’s Abu Saiyyaf militancy group.
For many years, Dawood Ibrahim has been living in Karachi, Pakistan under the direct assistance of ISI. In Karachi, he has properties and investments worth hundreds of millions of dollars. Sitting in Pakistan, Dawood Ibrahim, as per directives of ISI, operates global drug trade as well as distributes fund to several jihadist and militancy outfits. He also has investments in Indian film industry.
According to newspaper reports, Dawood Ibrahim had provided the fund to the 2008-Mumbai terror attackers while has financed Islamic terror in the Gujarat region through L-e-T, being a large terror group centered in Pakistan. In 2003, Dawood Ibrahim was declared a global terrorist by the US and Indian governments. From 2017, as per directives from ISI, Dawood Ibrahim has started providing fund to Jamaat e Islami’s chapters in India and Bangladesh.
A nexus of ISI-Dawood:
Dawood Ibrahim has established a small group of individuals from Bangladesh (mostly females) who are responsible in overseeing the trafficking of narcotics from Pakistan to Sri Lanka and the coordinate sending the consignments to several Western destinations. Dhaka’s largest vernacular daily Prothom Alo has already revealed the name of one of the key aides of ISI-Dawood nexus in Bangladesh. A Bangladeshi female named Shahina Akhter is one of the key figures of the nexus in Bangladesh. She coordinates with another Bangladeshi living in Australia for ensuring smooth transportation of narcotics to various countries in the West.
ISI-Dawood’s joint mission:
According to information, Pakistani ISI has decided to place at least two billion dollars towards militancy in India, China and Bangladesh with the dangerous agenda of staging series of terrorist attacks. ISI has been asking several jihadist outfits to devastate China, India and Bangladesh at any cost.
Salah Uddin Shoaib Choudhury is the editor of Blitz