Police have released the Iranian vessel ‘Harmooz’ and six Pakistani nationals who were arrested in connection with the 24kgs of heroin that was seized by the police last month.
A police media official has confirmed the releases to local media but has declined to say why they had been released.
‘Hormooz’ was seized after having carried the drugs from Chahabar port in Iran and delivered it to the Maldivian fishing boat ‘Violet’ 30 nautical miles outside of Maldives EEZ.
A total of eighteen officers were involved in the operation, with a police report describing the operation as a unique experience for all who took part in the record-breaking operation.
Police have revealed that the money was transferred to the agents in Iran by a member of the Maldives Police Service who has subsequently been arrested in connection with the case.
Four Maldivians, three Bangladeshis, and 11 Pakistanis were taken into custody in connection with the case.
Local newspapers have reported that Abdulla Shaffath, who was arrested in connection with the Artur brothers’ case last year, was among the suspects taken into custody, although police have yet to confirm this.
Police Superintendent Mohamed Rasheed, head of the Drug Enforcement Department had previously told the media that the street value of the drugs may have been up to MVR100 million (US$6.5 million).
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.