During recent investigations by Sri Lanka’s enforcement agencies, so far 6 Bangladeshis have been found involved in drug smuggling there.
On 31 December the Sri Lankan police had mentioned three Bangladeshis were involved in drug trafficking, including one woman. They are being held in custody in Colombo.
Three more Bangladeshis have now been named as part of the drug smuggling scam. All three of them are women.
The Sri Lankan authorities have informed Bangladesh than these Bangladeshi nationals have been travelling between Dhaka, Colombo and Kuala Lumpur. Sri Lanka’s law enforcement agencies believe that more Bangladeshis are likely to be involved in this smuggling.
According to Colombo’s immigration authorities, the three Bangladeshi women are Shaheena Akhter, Rehana Akhter and Tania.
Shaheena Akhter has visited Colombo at least 10 times between 30 March 2017 and 16 December 2018. She sometimes travelled from Kuala Lumpur to Colombo and then back to Dhaka or, at times, back to Kuala Lumpur.
Or sometimes it was from Dhaka to Colombo and back to Dhaka. During those 19 moths she basically travelled around these three destinations by either Sri Lankan Airlines or Malinda Air.
The Sri Lankan authorities informed the Bangladesh high commission in Colombo that Shaheena Akhter was in regular contact over phone with a Bangladeshi in Australia. She is not in Sri Lanka at present and they do not know the present whereabouts of the other two women.
Sri Lanka’s largest drug haul in the country’s recent history was last month, on 31 December.
Two Bangladeshis were caught and arrested in the haul – Mohammed Jamaluddin of Bogura and Dewan Rafiul Islam of Joypurhat. When caught during the operation by the Sri Lankan police in Mount Lavinia in the suburbs of Colombo, they had 272 kgs of heroin and 5 kgs of cocaine in their possession, amounting to around 1.52 billion taka in worth.
The flat where the huge drug haul was recovered had been rented for a year by Shaheena Akhter in January 2018.
Previously, on 15 December last year, a Bangladeshi woman named Surjomoni had been arrested with 32 kgs of heroin from the same area in Colombo’s suburbs.
In the meantime, Sri Lanka’s Special Task Force (STF) interrogated Rafiul Islam on 3 January in presence of a Bangladeshi diplomat.
Before being caught in Sri Lanka, on 12 August 2017 Jamaluddin had been arrested in Bangladesh by Bogura district police detective branch (DB) in the town’s Rupkatha Housing area with 30 yaba tablets.
He was charged under the narcotics control act and the case remains under trial in the Bogura court.
After Prothom Alo published news on 2 January of Jamaluddin’s arrest in Colombo, police searched his house in Bogura.
The Bangladeshi woman in Sri Lankan policy custody had told them during interrogations that she could only understand Bangla. However, it was later discovered she also could speak in English and Singhalese.
Meanwhile in Bangladesh, the Foreign Ministry has called for an inter-ministerial meeting on Sunday to discuss what is to be done about the involvement of Bangladeshis in Sri Lankan drug trafficking.