Criminal Court rules money earned in drug trade to be taken by the state

The Criminal Court has ruled that the money acquired through the sale of drugs by Ahmed Anil from the island of Kon’de in Gaaf Alif Atoll is to be taken by the state.

The money amounts to MVR64,985 (US$4,214). Anil was sentenced to life in jail and fined MVR100,000 (US$6,485) which he has to pay to the Criminal Court within a period of 30 days.


Police arrest woman involved in seized drug network

Police have arrested a 28 year old woman for her alleged involvement in the local drug network that was seized on 16 December.

According to the police, the woman was arrested Sunday night (December 22) while she was inside Finifenjambuge in Maafannu ward in Male’, under an arrest warrant.

Local newspapers have reported that the woman was the wife of one of the main suspects arrested in connection with the case.

On 16 December, police conducted joint special operation with the police Intelligence Department and Drug Enforcement Department (DED) to seize a local drug network and raided Finifenjamuge where police officers discovered 243 grams of illegal drugs and large amounts of cash including foreign currency.

A 30 year-old man was arrested along with two other men who allegedly obstructed police duty during the raid.

According to local media, police officers discovered MVR142,000, 630 Indian Rupee, 2020 Srilankan Rupees, seven Malaysia Ringgits, 60 Thai Bahts and US$ 4 inside Finifenjambuge.

On December 5, police said they seized another drug network operating in the Maldives.

During the police operation conducted to smash the network police searched the premises of Henveiru Fahaageaage after obtaining a search warrant, finding drugs and money inside the house.

Police said that persons believed to be involved in the network were apprehended inside the house during the operation.

According to police, a total four persons were arrested in connection with the case including a Pakistani and a Sri Lankan national.


Police looking for two men involved in smashed drug network

Police are looking for two men for their alleged involvement in the local drug network that was busted on December 5 in a joint special operation conducted by the police Drug Enforcement and Intelligence Departments.

Police identified the pair as Ismail Zihan, 21 of Medo house in Galolhu, and Faisal Ibrahim, 23 of Anooma house in Mahchangolhi.

The police did not reveal further information about the individuals.

Home Minister Umar Naseer this week held a dinner at Nasandura Palace Hotel with the police senior officers to congratulate them for the two successful operations conducted by police to seize two local drug networks.

During the dinner Umar Naseer thanked all the officers for their work and assured them that he would cooperate with the police to arrest and bring drug lords to justice.

Official statistics reveal drug-related offences reported to police have risen by 84 percent between 2012 and 2013.

On December 5, police searched the premises of Henveiru Fahaageaage after obtaining a search warrant, finding drugs and money inside the house.

Police said that persons believed to be involved in the network were apprehended inside the house during the operation.

According to police, a total four persons have been arrested in connection with the case including a Pakistani and a Sri Lankan national.

Police said that more places involved in the drug network are being searched.

Furthermore, police appealed the public to share any information they have regarding the whereabouts of the two wanted persons, and asked to people to contact the police hotline 3322111 or police emergency 119 or police Drug Enforcement Department at 9792498.

On 10 December, police established a 100 day road-map intended to strengthen the work of police and to gain the trust of the people.

The road-map was based on four main strategies which seek to increase and enhance operational activities, conduct activities to curb crime, enhance and hasten investigations, and improve the police institution.


Leading MDP politicians to be charged with drug and alcohol offences

The Prosecutor General (PG) has filed drug related charges against Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) senior figures arrested on Hondaidhoo Island in November last year in alleged possession – and under the influence – of illegal substances.

Criminal Court Media Official Ahmed Mohamed Manik today told Minivan News that the PG had charged MPs Abdulla Jabir and Hamed Abdul Ghafoor, and a person identified as Jadhulla Jameel, with smuggling alcohol into the country and consuming alcohol.

According to Manik, the PG has also forwarded additional charges against other individuals arrested from Hondaidhoo.

Jabir, Ghafoor, and Jadhulla Jameel were also charged for objecting to urine testing and possessing of cannabis.

Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiza were also charged for objecting to take a urine test, said Manik.

Additionally, the son of former President Nasheed’s Special Envoy, Mohamed Hamdhoon Zaki,  has been charged for trafficking illegal drugs into the country – the penalty for which is 25 years and can be fined up to MVR10million.

According to the Drug Act, Sections 123(a), 161(a), and 161(b), any person arrested on suspicion of having abused alcohol or narcotics has an obligation to comply with police requests for routine urine examination by promptly providing urine samples, and failure to comply is a criminal offence punishable with a one-year jail sentence.

A total of 10 people were taken into police custody on November 16 after police raided and searched Hondaidhoo with a court warrant. Officers alleged they found large amounts of suspected drugs and alcohol upon searching the island.

Two Sri Lankan nationals named Raj Mohan and Anoor Bandaranayk, as well as a Bangladeshi named Suhail Rana, were taken into custody following the island raid.  Their cases have not been filed at the PG’s office.


MP involved in illegal drug business is attempting to frame me: Umar Naseer

Additional reporting by Mariyath Mohamed

Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) presidential primary candidate Umar Naseer has claimed that an MP involved in the illegal drug business is attempting to “frame” him.

Speaking at a rally on Friday night (March 15), Naseer claimed that the unnamed MP had tried to ruin his reputation by sending police into his offices looking for contraband.

On Saturday night (March 16), Naseer then posted on both his Facebook and Twitter page that someone had tried to frame him “but I was not in the car I was delivering a speech in Miladhoo”.

Asked what Naseer was referring to, a police source told Minivan News today that a bottle of alcohol had been found in a car belonging to Naseer’s wife when searched by police yesterday.

“Last night the driver of the car had parked after there had been some sort of accident caused by someone on the back seat.

“At that time, the driver found a bottle of alcohol within the car and reported it to the police. We took the driver, questioned him and released him,” the source claimed.

Speaking in regard to the alcohol allegedly found in the car, Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed that a bottle had been found and the case was still under investigation.

“We received a report from a driver of a vehicle stating that there was a bottle of alcohol in the car. Police went to the car, searched it and took the vehicle,” Haneef said.

Last week, Naseer had posted on social media that he had received “intel” that an attempt would be made to assassinate his character by planting drugs in one of his offices.

Speaking in front of a giant display of a mosque set up for his campaign on Friday, Naseer said that he did not partake in acts involving illegal drugs.

“A serving parliament member who is involved in the illegal drug business is attempting to frame me.

“He tried to ruin my reputation by sending police to my business offices in the pretence of looking for illegal substances. I do not get involved in such acts,” he claimed.

Despite Naseer’s claims, when Minivan News asked Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef on Tuesday whether police had searched his offices, Haneef denied they had.

“I will not name the MP, I do not need to name him here. He is trying to hide the relations he has with gangs and his involvement in the illegal drug business,” Naseer claimed.

“If I, Umar Naseer, get elected, MPs cannot hide behind their privileges act and run illegal activities. I will take legal action against them,” he added.

Both Umar Naseer and Abdulla Yameen are currently campaigning to win the PPM’s presidential candidate slot for the upcoming presidential elections to be held in September this year.

People say Yameen bathes in mineral water: Umar Naseer

Speaking to crowds at the artificial beach in Male’ on Friday, Naseer claimed that “unlike Yameen” he is an ordinary citizen and not related to former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

In regard to Abdulla Yameen – who is also contending in the PPM presidential primary – Naseer claimed that his fellow contender plays “80 percent in defence”.

“We heard our brother MP [Ahmed] Nihan speaking at Yameen’s campaign rally. All he did was try to denounce what the public says about Yameen.

“Nihan said that although people allege Yameen has ties with gangs and gang violence it is not true. He then said that although people say Yameen even bathes with mineral water, that isn’t true either,” Naseer stated.

In response to the PPM presidential primary candidate’s claims, a spokesperson for Abdulla Yameen’s ‘Yageen’ campaign team told local media on Saturday that Naseer had made slanderous and “blatantly untruthful” statements about Yameen during the rally.

The spokesperson, PPM MP Shifaq Mufeed, said that the purpose of such statements was to damage Yameen’s credibility amongst his supporters.

Umar Naseer was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.


NDA head calls for drug smugglers to receive death penalty

National Drug Agency (NDA) Chairperson Lubna Zahir has called for individuals found to be importing illegal narcotics into the Maldives to face the death penalty, local media has reported.

Speaking on state broadcaster Television Maldives (TVM), Lubna was reported as saying  that the death penalty should be imposed for those who bring drugs into the country, adding that it needs to be in the same category as murder.

The comments were made after the recent deaths of a number of individuals who had taken a fake version of LSD circulated in the Maldives.

“We can only prevent drugs from coming into the Maldives by implementing the death penalty against them. Importing drugs is not a less serious crime,” Lubna was quoted by the Sun Online news service as telling the state broadcaster.  “One solution to this is to implement the death penalty against those who bring in drugs and commit murder.”

Lubna requested parliament to include the death penalty as the most severe punishment for drug smugglers, when passing relevant laws.


Married couple arrested over possession of illegal narcotics worth MVR 615,600

Police have announced the arrest yesterday (January 8) of a married couple in connection to the discovery of 270 bullet-sized packets of illegal narcotics.

The drugs were said to have been discovered both at the couple’s home and at the workplace of the male suspect, according to local media.

The Maldives Police Service said that during raids on two separate properties as part of the case, MVR 72,025 (US$4670) and US$121 in cash were discovered. Two empty bottles of vodka were also said to have been found inside the couple’s home.

According to police, the female suspect was aged 22 and the man was aged 28.  Meanwhile, local newspapers have reported that the male suspect was employed at a State Trading Organization (STO) flour storehouse.  However, authorities have opted to withhold the names and other information of the suspects at time of press.

The male suspect was arrested at 2:30pm, while his wife was arrested at 5:30pm, according to police.

Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz said via social media service Twitter that that the street value of the drugs seized yesterday was estimated at MVR 615,600 (US$39,922).

Minivan News understands that the couple were brought before judges to extend their pretrial detention period.

On November 28 last year, authorities uncovered more than MVR 1 million (US$ 64,808) in cash along with other foreign currencies during an operation to thwart a local drug network.

Deputy Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed tweeted at the time that the street value of the drugs discovered during the same operation would reach over MVR 10 million (US$648,000).


Police seize nine kilograms of drugs in raid on local drug network

Police have busted a local drug network and arrested five Maldivians and four Indians while they were in possession of nine kilograms of illegal substances.

The men were arrested when they arrived in the Maldives aboard a cargo boat named ‘Silver Cloud 49’, a vessel carrying goods from India to the Maldives that had just unloaded eggs, potatoes and onions from Tuticorin port in India.

Police conducted a join operation with the customs, police intelligence and police drug enforcement department to disrupt the drug network.

According to a statement issued by police, the vessel arrived in the Maldives yesterday morning.

Police said that during the same operation police obtained a searched warrant and searched a house in Male’, where they discovered a large amount of foreign and Maldivian currency.

A further two expatriates were arrested in the house, police said.

Police did not disclose the name of the house where the money was found or the amount of money found inside the house.

According to local newspaper ‘Haveeru’, Deputy Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed tweeted that the street value of the drugs discovered during the operation would reach up to MVR 10 million (US$648,000).

Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Minivan News that the operation was still going on and refused to disclose further information before the operation was concluded.


Two Pakistani nationals fined MVR 100,000, sentenced to life for drug trafficking

The Criminal Court today sentenced two Pakistani nationals to 25 years prison and fined the pair MVR 100,000 (US$6666) each.

The pair were given a month to pay their fines.

The court identified the two Pakistanis as Ishfaq and Imthiyaz Khan.

The Criminal Court ruling said that on February 12 of this year the pair arrived in the Maldives around 12:51am early morning on Sri Lankan Airlines flight UL107.

Imthiyaz and Ishfaq both confessed that they had swallowed a large amount of illegal drugs in bullet-sized packets. When the drugs found inside their body was tested it was showed to be containing Diamorphine, a substance found in heroin is banned under section 1 of the Drug Act.

The court determined that both men had violated the Maldives Drug Act and sentenced them accordingly.

Last Wednesday, the Criminal Court sentenced Ali Ugail of Hulhudhoo in Addu City after the court found him guilty of trafficking illegal drugs into the Maldives.

The court said Ugail arrived to the Maldives on March 29 on Air India Flight number AI263 carrying 76 bullet-sized packets containing Diamorphine.

Ugail confessed to the crime in court and was also sentenced  to 25 years and a fine of MVR 100,000.

Police statistics issued today by the Statistics and Analysis Unit show that in the first 10 days of Ramadan, 63 drug-related cases were filed by police.