The Maldives Police Services has arrested two officers of the Maldives National Defense Forces (MNDF) and a policeman in a drug bust this morning.
Speaking to the press today, Drug Enforcement Department’s (DED) Head Superintendent Ahmed Shifan said three individuals were arrested at Avista café in Malé on suspicion of drug trafficking.
Following the arrest, the police conducted a search of Sinamalé apartment 12-03, and found 18 bullets of suspected heroin and tools to pack narcotics. A fourth man was arrested at the apartment.
The police officer arrested in the case is 28 years of age while the two MNDF officers are 24 years of age and 28 years of age.
A further two men were arrested on charges of drug trafficking in Malé this week. They were caught on the stairway of Galholu Mithuru in Malé with 27 pieces of cellophane and 23 packets thought to contain illegal drugs.
There has been a spike in the number of police officers arrested in drug busts this year.
In March, the police arrested a police sergeant in a drug bust involving 24 kg of heroin. The MVR36 million haul is the largest from a police operation in the country’s history. Four Maldivians, three Bangladeshis and 11 Pakistanis were also taken into custody.
Police later revealed that the officer had used a local money transfer service to send money to an Iranian agent.
Local media reported in August that the officer was among three Maldivian suspects released from custody after the Prosecutor General’s Office decided there was insufficient evidence for prosecution.
On November 11, a police officer and eight others were arrested on suspicion of drug trafficking from Lhaviyani Atoll Hinnavaru Island.
According to the police, 16 bullet-sized rubber packets of “a substance suspected to be drugs,” 241 bullet-sized rubber packets of heroin, and 145 packets of hash oil were seized during an operation conducted by the DED in Hinnavaru.
A police officer and two others were also arrested in a drug bust in Addu City in October.
Speaking at a conference of police division and atoll commanders on October 22, Home Minister Umar Naseer said criminal gangs in the atolls were attempting to infiltrate the police by forging personal relationships with police officers stationed in their islands.
Gangs attempt to “penetrate” police stations in order to gather information to carry out criminal activities, he said.
Naseer said complaints have been received from various islands about offenders quickly learning of a crime being reported to the police.
Information was thus “leaking” from within the police, he added.
“So some people hesitate to share information with some police stations. This is very regrettable,” he said.
Commanders in the atolls should ensure that police officers do not fraternise with known criminals or suspected drug dealers, Naseer urged.
Naseer said he had received complaints from various islands about police officers spending time with suspected drug dealers when they were off-duty.
Commanders should be aware of who their subordinate officers “go to coffees or picnics with,” he advised, which should be controlled to ensure the “credibility of the police force on that island or atoll.”