Convicted drug kingpin leaves for Sri Lanka

The ringleader of a nationwide drug network convicted and jailed in November departed to Sri Lanka last night, ostensibly for medical treatment, local media has learned.

Ibrahim Shafaz Abdul Razzaq, 32, of Maafanu Lonumidhilige, was sentenced to 18 years in prison and fined MVR75,000 (US$4,860) after being found guilty of drug trafficking.

According to newspaper Haveeru, the Maldives Correctional Services (MCS) was not informed of a date for the inmate’s return. Shafaz was not accompanied by an MCS officer, the local daily reported.

Opposition-aligned private broadcaster Raajje TV reported that a “reliable source” claimed Shafaz was not listed in the immigration control system as a convict when he boarded the midnight flight with his family.

Raajje TV also alleged that Shafaz was allowed to leave the country on orders from Tourism Minister Ahmed Adeeb.

Responding to the allegation, Adeeb told Minivan News today that as tourism minister he did not have “a say in the decisions by the independent institution formed by the law called Maldives Correctional Service.”

“Raajje TV is a very irresponsible media directing all the allegations towards me politically,” the deputy leader of the ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) said.

MCS officials could not be reached for comment today.

President’s Office Spokesperson Ibrahim Muaz was meanwhile unable to confirm for Raajje TV whether Shafaz was among 24 convicts whose sentences were commuted by President Abdulla Yameen last month.

President Yameen commuted the sentences of persons banished, serving jail sentences or under house arrest “with conditions.”

In the final days of his administration, former President Dr Mohamed Waheed Hassan also commuted the sentences of 35 convicts under authority granted by the Clemency Act.

Individuals convicted of murder, terrorism, a crime with a punishment (hadd) prescribed in Islamic Shariah, disturbing the peace – including attacking or threatening a security officer or vandalising public property – child abuse, rape, homosexuality, and drug trafficking involving an amount more than four grams were not eligible for clemency, the President’s Office said last month.

Details of the convicts, the conditions for granting clemency and the reduced sentences were not disclosed on either occasion.

Article 115 of the constitution states that the president has the authority “to grant pardons or reductions of sentence as provided by law, to persons convicted of a criminal offence who have no further right of appeal.”

“Operation Challenge”

Shafaz was arrested on June 24, 2011 with 896 grams of heroin from a rented apartment in a building owned by PPM MP Ahmed ‘Redwave’ Saleem.

Former head of the Drug Enforcement Department (DED), Superintendent Mohamed Jinah, told the press at the time that police raided Henveiru Fashan based on intelligence information gathered in the two-year long “Operation Challenge.”

Jihah labeled Shafaz a high-profile drug dealer suspected of smuggling and supplying drugs since 2006.

The traffickers had been using an authorised money exchanger called A J Emporium to transfer funds to Sri Lanka, Jinah revealed.

The drugs were believed to have been smuggled via Sri Lankan Airlines.

Jinah claimed that the network smuggled drugs worth MVR1.3 million (US$84,306) to the Maldives between February and April 2011.

Police also discovered that Shafaz had bought a shop named ‘Charm’ for MVR150,000 (US$9700) that was sold in June 2011 for MVR200,000 (US$12,970).

Moreover, Shafaz was renting three apartments in Male’ and owned a tailor shop bought for MVR200,000 (US$13,000), a shop in Kaafu Atoll Maafushi, and a Suzuki Swift car worth MVR180,000 (US$11,673), later sold for MVR170,000 (US$11,025).

As Shafaz was not in the room with the drugs at the time of the raid and his fingerprints were not found on the confiscated drugs, the Criminal Court ruled last year that there was not enough evidence to convict Shafaz on one count of the drug charges.

However, he was found guilty on the second count based on recorded phone conversations and financial transactions with a contact in Colombo, believed to be the supplier.

Three of Shafaz’s accomplices who were caught with the opiates and packing equipment – Ismail Shaheem, Mohamed Meead and Anas Anees – were meanwhile found guilty of possession and trafficking and sentenced to ten years in prison.

In a speech a few days after the drug bust, former President Mohamed Nasheed said he found it “quite shocking [that] 800 packets of heroin a night were getting sealed in the house of an honourable member of parliament.”


13 thoughts on “Convicted drug kingpin leaves for Sri Lanka”

  1. For Dheen and Gangsters vote Yameen! #Yameen2018

    Another one of Yameen's gangsters is the infamous "Chika" who walked free after drugs, cash and weapons were found in his residence. Everybody knows this. Male is a small city. People talk, word gets around. Yameen is only fooling the old generation who don't know anything. PPM is made up of gangsters.

  2. Also I may add Maldives dont allow Buddhism. Please dont come to our country. Muslims are not welcome

  3. Yet another messup.

    He sold drugs which destroyed many kids and in the process became a millionaire.

    Let him rot in the cell!

    Compare with working class population. You work for decades and you would only hope to enjoy the freedom and wealth as this guy.

    So the question they would be asking is why bother??

    A very bad precedence is being set here.

  4. Always a prime suspect the Sri Lankan Airlines.

    The airline should be banned as a drug trafficker too

  5. November 3rd perpetrators Lutfee was send to Sri Lanka for medical by Nasheed ? Kuthfee had killed 18 innocent people .

    Red Wave Saleem had rented his house and it will be extremely difficult to supervise what goes in inside the rented apartments by the landlord.

    Last sentence in this article is shocking. If it was true, if Nasheed had mentioned that and if he had tried to link this with Red Wave saleem, then it is more likely that this was pre planed raid organized by Nasheed and Nasheed would have ordered to have his men to rent this apartment and put those guys there and send the police to raid .

  6. It is clear this man has very strong connection with key figures of this government. Authorities owe an explanation of his release to travel abroad as a free man.

  7. What Hero doesnt get is that the 1989 LTTE coup was planned by Maumoon himself. While brave Maldivian soldiers were killed because the generals were too cowardly to open the armory, Maumoon hid like a rat, fully confident that his detractors would be blamed.

  8. November 3rd was planned by Nasheed and his family and we all know that.

    Don't try to fool us and we all know who had financed the plot even.

    This is why Nasheed never marked 3rd Nov. as a victory day and made as a normal day to make it go from our hearts and minds.

    Why do you think that Nasheed had tried so hard to remove that day from our hearts and minds.

    No matter how much Nasheed and his family want to hide the truth from us, we will never forget that day and Nasheed family will be remembered as a traitor to the nation.

  9. November 3 was no victory day. Why should we celebrate such a tragedy? And I see you're making up things as you go - November 3 was remembered; not celebrated.

    You may be a foreign mercenary, so you don't understand this; but the people who died, died for the cowardice of the Maldivian military generals.

  10. Minivan. You are making up things here and you and Nasheed family members are trying to hide the truth behind 3rd Nov.

    Nasheed and his family will be remembered as Traitor this nation and it is written in our history and you can eradicate it.


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