Police nab expats brewing alcohol in Thilafushi

Police arrested three expatriates caught brewing alcohol in Thilafushi yesterday.

According to police media, the suspects taken into custody around 7:50pm were two Indian men aged 46 and 27 and a Bangladeshi man aged 24.

In a joint operation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Department (DED) and Marine Police, police confiscated three five-litre bottles and three 500ml bottles of alcohol as well as eight containers with 20 litres of fermented alcohol and equipment used to brew alcohol.

Police said the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) provided assistance for the operation.


Police officer kidnapped during a special operation conducted to arrest four men carrying alcohol

Police have said an officer was briefly kidnapped on Friday (August 31) during a special operation to crack down on a safari b0oat operator suspected of illegally supplying alcohol from a vessel moored in Hulhumale’ lagoon.

The special operation was conducted by the police Drug Enforcement Department (DED) following intelligence reports received by authorities that four men were allegedly unloading alcohol from a safari boat kept in the waters of Hulhumale’ to supply alcohol illegally on land.  Over 100 bottles of alcohol and forty cans of beer were later discovered during the operation, police have claimed.

Speaking to media at the Iskandar Building, DED Head Chief Inspector Ahmed Azhan said that two men from the safari boat came to Hulhumale’ jetty in a small dingy before being confronted by a police officer.  After the officer stepped onto the dingy to confront the men, the boat reportedly moved away from the jetty with the member of the police on-board.

Azhan told local press that a number of other police officers pursued the suspects in their own dingy that had been kept nearby.  Police eventually recovered the officer.

According to Azhan, officers then searched the dingy and found three bottles of alcohol inside a bag.

Police officers then went onboard the safari vessel to conduct a search that found alcohol bottles stored at different parts of the safari boat without any apparent arrangement or order.

Police said 106 bottles of alcohol and 40 cans of beer were found on the vessel once the search had been completed.

Azhan said the safari boat had the license to have alcohol on-board and noted that there were required procedures to follow for supplying such goods – procedures which the vessel’s operators had failed to maintain.

He also said that one of the four men arrested was a Maldivian male 42 years of age.  The other three individuals were all expats aged 27, 32 and 42.

Police have not so far disclosed the nationality of the expatriate workers on the boat, but said all four men were employed as staff on the safari vessel.


Three men arrested with over 600 grams of heroin

Police yesterday arrested three male suspects for possession of 600 grams of heroin during a raid on a residence in the capital Male’.

The three men – aged 23, 26 and 27 – were taken into custody from H. Mayflower in a special operation conducted by police intelligence and the drug enforcement department.

The seized drugs, weighing 621.2 grams in total, were found in a room with the three men during the raid on the property around 6.30pm yesterday (June 15).

The estimated street value of the confiscated drugs is Rf775,000 (US$50,259).

Local daily Haveeru reported that the suspects in custody are Ismail Inaz Saeed, 23, H. Fahala; Hassan Shifan, 26, H. Ranfaruge; and Mohamed Miuzan, 27, Seenu Feydhoo, Murin’gu.

According to the newspaper, Hassan Shifan is believed to be a resident of H. Mayflower, from where the suspected illegal narcotics were found.


Police uncover drug network, seize cannabis and heroin

The Police Drug Enforcement Department (DED) have busted a large drug network they allege centred around a 56 year-old man working on the cargo vessel ‘MV Reina’, and seized a large quantity of cannabis and illegal drugs trafficked into the country.

The man was identified by the police as Adhnan Moosa (pictured, right) from Alimasvilla on the island of Dhidhoo in Haa Alifu Atoll.

In a statement police said that the man arrived to the Maldives from Tuticorin in India last Tuesday at around 21:25pm, and was arrested last Wednesday at 5:21pm while he was in possession of a large rubber packet containing cannabis.

Police took the man to his bags and searched them in his presence, and found five cans of cannabis and empty rubber packets, police said.

According to the statement, police then went to the MV Reina and searched his cabin, and found a further 12 cans containing cannabis.

Police also learned of two other persons alleged to have received illegal drugs through Moosa, and arrested both of them in possession of suspected narcotics.

The pair were identified by the police as 43 year-old Ahmed Rasheed (pictured left), of Always Happy House in Male’ and 26 year-old Hassan Sabir (pictured middle), of Sithura house on Komandoo in Shaviyani Atoll.

Ahmed Rasheed threw away a can containing cannabis when police saw him, police said. Police received information that more drugs were stored in his office locker, and in search discovered eight cans containing cannabis and one large packet of heroin.

Police alleged that Hassan Sabir was a person who is involved in the network and was connected with Adhnan. Sabir was searched by police, who found rubber packets used to pack drugs.

A fourth Maldivian was also arrested in connection with this case, however the court released him after he chose to cooperate with the police investigation, police said.

Police thanked the Maldives Customs Service for the department’s assistance with the police operation.


High Court invalidates Criminal Court verdict against police officer

The High Court has invalidated the Criminal Court’s ruling on a Police Drug Enforcement Department (DED) Officer.

The officer was accused of asking an inmate to find him two girls between the ages of 16 to 25 to have sex with him three nights from 8:00pm to 1:00am, and that in exchange the inmate was to be freed and the case dropped.

The High Court identified the inmate as Mabaah Waheed of Maafannu Jaina and the police officer as Police Constable Ahmed Ismail.

The Criminal Court had ruled that according to Mabaah’s statements, documents presented to the court and text messages sent to Mabah’s mobile phone warranted enough evidence to suggest claims made by Mabah against Ismail were true.

The High Court however noted that Mabaah was arrested by the police on a drug related matter in a case Ismail investigated, raising the possibility that Mabaah might have a grudge against Ismail and so his statements would be weak.

The High Court said in the ruling that Ismail had argued that evidences and statements given by Mabaah should be invalid because Mabaah was inclined to give false statements as Ismail had not commuted the investigation.

The texts allegedly sent to Mabaah by Ismail requesting for the girls were not tested by any digital analysis system, the High Court said, adding that there was not enough evidence to suggest the texts were really sent by Ismail.

The Court also said that there was no evidence other than the words of Mabaah that the documents, written in English, were given to him by Ismail asking for the two girls.

Delivering the verdict, the High Court said it was hard to believe that a person would give a document making such a request, and that the only evidence that the Prosecutor General has presented to the court was the document  and the text messages on the mobile phone, not enough to prove that the officer was guilty.


Leaked report identifies investigative failures in acquital of drug kingpin

A report compiled by the Presidential Commission (PC) following an inquiry into the controversial acquittal of alleged drug kingpin Adam Naseer in February 2010 has been leaked online, suggesting that shortcomings in the police investigation and weak evidence were responsible for failure to convict one of the “top six drug lords” identified by police.

According to the report, the inquiry into the police investigation and subsequent prosecution was requested by President Mohamed Nasheed in March 2010.

Police were unable to find “any evidence to prove at court that Adam Naseer bought and sold drugs,” the report concludes.

It further states that there was “reason to suspect negligence or a plan” behind the failure to gather strong evidence.

“Weak points”

The PC report identifies as “weak points” discrepancies in the statements provided by the police investigation team regarding the amount of drugs seized in the operation, revealing that police did not take the suspect’s fingerprint, dust the evidence for fingerprints or search Naseer for “any sign of drugs on him.”

“Apart from the statement of the police agent, Naseer’s friend [Ahmed] Ramzee, there was no other evidence to prove that the can [of narcotics] belonged to him,” reads ‘weak point’ number six. “And while police were certain for many hours that Naseer had the can, he was not caught red-handed.”

It adds that due to the hasty decision to arrest Naseer and search his residence before someone arrived to collect the can, police lost the opportunity to nab the suspect’s associates.

Among the other findings, the report notes that police trailed the suspect for six months prior to his arrest after intelligence sources learned that Naseer was going to recover drugs buried in an agriculture field he owned in Seenu Hithadhoo.

In addition to Rf5 million (US$389,100) in cash, police recovered eight empty rubber packets with trace amounts of narcotics and a plastic can with drugs from his residence.

However police were unable to uncover any details of Naseer’s dealings during the six-month investigation, such as his sources and customers.

The report notes that the inquiry was based on a summary report available from the Criminal Court website after the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) denied the commission’s request for the court report.

“The Prosecutor General’s Office informed the commission in writing that the [PG] office could provide any assistance saying that [investigating] such cases was against the commission’s mandate,” it reads.


The report recommends “strengthening investigative capability,” suggesting that police should not undertake such operations without “modern facilities” and officers with the skill and training to employ them.

Moreover, the report notes that all three investigative teams were led by Superintendent Mohamed Jinah, head of the Drug Enforcement Department (DED), recommending separating the teams to allow for monitoring of progress.

The report further advises instituting safeguards against potential corruption inside the DED and guarding against possible attempts to compromise high stakes investigations.

Among the irregularities noted in the report, the commission was told by the police agent that he was not remunerated while Superintendent Jinah insisted otherwise.

Read full report (in Dhivehi)


Police arrest suspected drug kingpin after months of investigations

Police have arrested an individual suspected of being one of the Maldives’ most high-profile drug dealers after spending several months collecting information about his procedures for importing narcotics into the country.

The Head of the police’s Drug Enforcement Department (DED), Superintendent Mohamed Jinah, told members of the press that the alleged drug lord was arrested Friday (June 24), along with several companions also suspected of involvement in supplying drugs.

Jinah identified the suspected dealer as Ibrahim ‘Shafa’ Shafaz, 30, of Lonumidhi in Maafannu ward.

Details of three of his companions – also suspected of involvement in the drug ring – were also revealed. Jinah identified them as Ismail Shameem, 30, of Thaa Atoll Thimarafushi, Hussein Atheek, 27, of Fehi in Maafannu ward and Hussein Athif, 25, of Kudhehige in Maafannu ward.

Jinah claimed that Shafaz has been suspected of importing drugs to the Maldives since 2005, with police having since labelled him as one of the country’s most high profile drug traffickers.

About 896 grams of illegal drugs were said to have been discovered inside his apartment following a police raid of the premises on Friday.  The apartment, which was rented in a building belonging to MP ‘Redwave’ Ahmed Saleem, contained a number of tools that could be used to pack drugs, while powdered narcotics were also found.

According to police, Ismail Shameem’s alleged role in the network was to distribute the drugs in small packets – originally bought in kilograms -while Hussein Atheek is suspected of transferring money to the network in Sri Lanka.

Hussein Athif is suspected by police of playing the most important role in the whole network by communicating with an agent in Sri Lanka in order to safely traffic drugs to the Maldives.

Jinah said the traffickers have been using an authorised money exchange company called A J Amporium to send funds to Sri Lanka, while another company named MC Galleria is alleged to have been receiving the money.

The drugs are believed to have been imported via Sri Lankan Airlines, though Jinah said these three companies were not suspected of being knowingly involved in the drug trafficking.

He said between February to April of this year, Rf1.3 million of drugs were trafficked in to the Maldives by this network.

Jinah claimed Shafaz had last year bought a shop named ‘Charm’ for Rf150,000 (US$9700) that was sold this month for Rf200,000.

Shafaz is also believed to rent three apartments in Male’, with one property having been rented for 21 years for Rf300,000.

He also owns a tailor shop which he bought for Rf200,000 (US$13,000) for 15 years, a shop in Kaafu Atoll Maafushi, a Suzuki Swift car for Rf180,000 (US$11,673), later sold for Rf170,000.

Jinah said a special DED operation to try and seize the suspect began in 2009 with significant cooperation from the Prosecutor General and Criminal Court.

Speaking from his office this morning, President Mohamed Nasheed said that police were now looking to investigate the exact methods of money transfer thought to have been used by the alleged drug dealers.

Nasheed claimed this morning that even if the investigation ended up being linked to his mother and father, he would not step back in fulfilling his pledge to clamp down on the drug trade.


Four arrested in brewing bust

An alcohol brewing operation conducted by four people has been discovered in Seenu Hithadhoo by police.

According to police, the four brewers were conducting the operation in an abandoned house on Hithadhoo. Police were alerted to the operation after receiving a tip off yesterday evening, and raided the premises to find three single litre bottles of  prepared alcohol which were confiscated along with a brewing still.

Two men were taken into police custody in relation to the incident: Mohamed Humaul, 21 and Ahmed Anees, 18. Police said two boys aged 14 and 15 years old were also involved. All four are from Seenu Hithadhoo.

The matter is now being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Department and the Hithadhoo police station.