Sixteen men and two women were arrested yesterday in a drug bust with over MVR100,00 (US$6,485) in cash and 31 rubber packets containing illicit narcotics.
Police raided Galolhu Masodige with a search warrant around 9:00am based on intelligence information suggesting that drugs were being sold from the house. The special operation was conducted jointly by the drug enforcement department (DED) and police intelligence.
According to the DED officer in charge of the operation, equipment used to pack drugs was also confiscated from Masodige.
Of the 18 suspects taken into custody, police said a 22-year-old man and 50-year-old woman were actively involved in drug trafficking.
The male suspect had a criminal record for drug trafficking and gang violence, police revealed.
The other 16 suspects – aged between 22 and 58 – were believed to have been in the house to purchase drugs at the time of the raid.
A 26-year-old woman among the suspects had been convicted on multiple charges of theft in 2010 and 2011, police said.
The Criminal Court meanwhile granted a seven-day extension of detention for all 18 suspects when they were brought before a judge at 7:00pm last night. The case is currently under investigation by the DED.
On January 20, police arrested eight Maldivians with illegal narcotics and more than MVR140,000 (US$9,000) and US$11,000 in cash from a residence in Malé.
In an interview with Minivan News in January, Home Minister Umar Naseer said that the main target of his ministry for the next five years would be curbing drug-related crimes.
Naseer said that he intended to give a high priority to enhancing the customs services in order to stop illegal drugs and other contraband from being smuggled in to the country. He also said that the police intelligence department was being expanded.
“Leaving aside abusers and peddlers, the focus of this front will be on major wholesale drug dealers. We will investigate how drugs are brought into the country, find the contacts abroad, find ways to locate and take action against those involved even if they are abroad,” he said.