Alleged drug lord released from custody after police were late to court

A man has been released from police custody yesterday (April 2) after being taken to the Criminal Court seven minutes past his legally allowed period of detention.

Local media reported that the police had arrested the individual on a drug case, and that he was allegedly one of the drug barons arrested earlier this year.

When authorities realised his detention period had expired, the man was released by police without charge.

According to the constitution, any person detained must be presented before a judge within 24 hours.


Police arrests drug lord during special operation

Police have this morning conducted a special operation, raiding the house of an individual alleged to have been supplying the illegal drugs trade in the Maldives.

The police issued a statement today revealing that the operation was conducted this morning at about 8:20am, with officers raiding the premises of Woodpecker house in Maafannu ward – the home of the alleged drug lord.

According to police 500 grams of suspected illegal drugs were found inside the house.

Police did not reveal the identity of the suspect arrested in the case, but stated that he was 23 years old and involved in a wide network of drug business in the Maldives.

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

On December 5, police searched the premises of Henveiru Fahaageaage after obtaining a search warrant, on suspicion that the house was related to a local drug network operating in Male’.

During the operation police discovered 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 of four persons have been arrested in connection with the case including a Pakistani and a Sri Lankan national.

At the time, police said that more places involved in the drug network were being searched.

No further details of the operation were provided in the statement, though it was said that further details will be divulged later.

Yesterday, police told local newspapers that a special operation had been conducted in Male’ to reduce criminal activities conducted by gangs operating inside cinamale’ flat area and its surroundings – discovering four knives and suspected illegal drugs.

The raid was reported to have followed numerous complaint from residents. Police dismantled huts and bird cages inside the premises that had been built without permission from Male’ City Council, on suspicion that these areas may have been used by the gang members to store drugs.

During an interview with Minivan News last week, Home Minister Umar Naseer said that the main targets of his ministry for the next five years would be to curb the drug-related crimes occurring in the country.

Umar Naseer said that due to the increase in drug related offenses the criminal justice system has been overloaded – as had the work of police and customs.

He told Minivan News that the main cause of this overload was the increase in drugs being smuggled and the amount of drug abusers and peddlers.

Naseer said that he intended to give high priority to enhancing the customs services in order to stop illegal drugs and other contraband from being brought in to the country.

Speaking about reducing drug-related crimes, he said that he would focus more on major drug dealers, rather than those further down the criminal hierarchy.

The home minister also pledged to find ways to enforce Maldivian law on the drug lords abroad who are involved in the drug trafficking cases occurring in the Maldives.

According to Naseer, the police intelligence department has been widened by training more intelligence officers


Police raid Malé house, finding large amounts of cash and drugs

Police have searched the house of an alleged drug lord who is believed to have been smuggling drugs in to the country. The individual himself has also been arrested.

The police did not reveal the identity of the man but said he was 30 years old.

According to the police, when officers searched his house ‘Finifenjambuge’ in Mahchangolhi ward, police found large amounts of money and drugs inside the premises.


Civil Court orders police to return all seized assets of accused drug lord

The Civil Court has ordered police to return all the assets seized from Adam Naseer that were confiscated during an investigation of his activities in 2010.

After the Criminal Court acquitted Naseer, the Civil Court ruled that there were no legal grounds for police to withhold the assets and ordered them returned in one month.

The Civil Court ordered police to return all the cash, three HSBC gold visa card, one HSCB silver card, one mobile phone SIM card, two HP laptops, a paper with the HSBC card’s pin code written on it, one CD, three papers containing information about Dhiraagu, a prepaid SIM card’s guide book, one Fujitsu laptop, his passport, one car and motorbike registration,  one speedboat registration and two cheque books.

Police searched Naseer’s home in Addu Atoll on June 30, 2009, where they found over MVR 6 million (US$461,500) in cash and a tin containing drugs outside his house. Police subsequently alleged that he was one of the top six drug lords in the Maldives.

However the Criminal Court acquitted Naseer on the grounds that the state had not been able to convince it that the money found inside his house was earned through drug trafficking, or that the tin containing money outside his house belonged to him. The state appealed the case at the High Court, which upheld the lower court’s verdict.

In May 2010 Naseer sued police seeking the return of the money.


Police return MVR 6 million confiscated from accused drug lord

Police have returned MVR 6 million (US$461,500) confiscated from suspected drug lord, Adam Naseem of H. Reendhooge, according to local media.

Naseem was accused by the Nasheed government in 2009 of being one of the country’s top six drug lords. He was arrested in mid-2009 and the police investigation lasted nearly a year.

Police searched Naseer’s home in Addu Atoll on June 30, 2009, where they found over MVR 6 million (US$461,500) in cash and a tin containing drugs outside his house.

However, the Criminal Court acquitted Naseer on the grounds that the state had not been able to convince the court that the money found inside his house was earned through drug trafficking, or that the tin belonged to him.

The state appealed the case at the High Court, which upheld the lower court’s not guilty verdict.

In May 2010, Naseem sued police seeking the return of the money.

Naseem reportedly told local newspaper Haveeru that police had not yet returned the registration of his motorbike and car, or cheques he claimed were worth a further MVR 6 million.

In June 2011, a report compiled by the presidential commission following an inquiry into Naseer’s controversial acquittal was leaked online.

The findings of the report suggested that shortcomings in the police investigation and weak evidence were responsible for the failure to convict one of the “top six drug lords” identified by police.


Laamu drug kingpin sentenced to 25 years imprisonment

The Criminal Court on Wednesday sentenced a man identified by the police as one of the top drug dealers in the Maldives to 25 year imprisonment for illegal trade of narcotics, with an additional five years for possessing an illegal narcotic without a prescription.

The Criminal Court identified the person as Hassan Yousuf, Mathimaradhoo ward of Gan in Laamu Atoll.

The court saidthat  according to police officers that attended the scene to arrest Yousuf, he was holding a cigarette pack in his hand when he saw the officers and he threw the pack away.

When police picked up the cigarette pack and searched it, they found two grams of heroin inside.

Yousuf was arrested last year September in a special operation conducted by police, after they were informed that he was in possession of illegal narcotics.

“Police and society have recognised him as the top dealer in Laamu Atoll, and he has now been caught for the second time,’’ said Head of Drug Enforcement Department Superintendent Ahmed Jinah, at the time. “A recent case involving him is in trial, and he was again caught with suspected narcotics.”

Jinah said Yousuf was in police custody and the court had granted an extension of his detention to 10 days.

“The atolls have lately been used by drug traffickers for transportation and establishing hideouts,’’ Jinah said. ‘’We have conducted special operations in the islands to curb the number of users and dealers, which is hard and challenging due to the low numbers of police officers in the atolls and the large areas [to cover].’’

Jinah in September said police had observed that Addu Atoll, Laamu Atoll and Noonu Atoll were being used by dealers and users for transportation of drugs and the construction of hideouts.

Another drug related case against Yousuf is still ongoing in the court.


Police arrest suspected drug lord after search finds 100 grams of narcotics

Police have today announced the capture of a suspected drug lord ‘’who had been trafficking a wide range of substances’’ after claiming to have found 100 grams of narcotics on the individual.

Police identified the suspect as 50 year-old Maldivian Mohamed Rasheed Abdul Bagir, who was arrested on 12 March at about 4:00pm.

Superintendent Ahmed Jinah, head of the police’s Drug Enforcement Department, today told media that the suspect had been followed by the force’s Drug Intelligence department.  He claimed that officers moved to arrest him they were certain he was in possession of illegal drugs.

Jinah stated that 100 grams of narcotics were discovered in Bagir’s trouser’s pocket as he was searched.

In 2007, Bagir was accused of assisting a Pakistani named Mansoor Hussein, who was arrested while attempting to traffic 8 kilograms of illegal drugs in to the Maldives, according to Jinah.

The police claimed that during their investigation into the case, Mansoor confessed that Bagir assisted him.

Bagir’s case was not sent to the court then, Jinah said, because the Prosecutor General’s Office said there was not enough evidence to charge him.

Jinah told the media that it was believed that Bagir have direct links to a wide drug network in Pakistan that produces and export illegal narcotics to various countries.

Jinah alleged that he [Bagir] had been importing drugs to the Maldives as a wide commercial business.

The case comes as politicians such as President Mohamed Nasheed continue to highlights drug abuse as a major challenge to the country’s law enforcement agencies.

In February, police announced that they had made a number of successful crackdowns on drug use in the country, claiming to have captured a large haul of narcotics with a street value totaling thousands of US Dollars.

Back in November 2010, Minivan News also reported that two Maldivian nationals have been arrested in Trivandrum Airport in India for allegedly trying to traffic drugs to the Maldives smuggled into the baggage of a 14 year-old passenger.

Earlier during the year in September, Maldivian police said they had arrested 23 people suspected of having links with the country’s drug trade that led to 36 separate cases being sent to the Prosecutor General’s office.

These allegations follow a number of high profile drug seizures made by Maldives Customs Services during the last two years from areas such as Trivandrum in India, where  12 separate attempts at transporting illegal narcotics were recorded.  These attempts saw a cache of drugs seized totaling 12.56 kilograms with a street value of Rf 11 million – uncovered during 2009 alone.


Criminal Court releases assets of alleged drug lord

The Criminal Court has ordered the bank accounts of alleged drug lord Hussein Mohamed Manik be unfrozen.

Manik was arrested for allegedly dealing drugs at a large scale, however the court earlier found that police evidence was insufficient.

The court order issued on last Tuesday overruled an order issued on April 13, 2009 to freeze Hussein’s bank accounts.

Haveeru reported that police have requested the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office appeal in the High Court, however the matter has yet to be filed.

Earlier this year the Criminal Court acquitted another alleged drug lord, Ahmed Naseer, after police confiscated Rf5 million (US$389,000) from his houses in Male and Hithadhoo.


Adam Naseer sues police to reclaim frozen assets

Adam Naseer has sued the Maldives Police Service (MPS) for withholding his assets after the High Court froze the money earlier this month, as part of an ongoing investigation against him.

Naseer, labelled as one of the top six drug dealers of the country by the government, was arrested in July 2008 by police on drug charges.

He was acquitted by Judge Abdul Baary Yousuf in the Criminal Court in late February 2010. The judge cited lack of evidence to convict Naseer.

The Prosecutor General’s office then appealed the case to the High Court and requested the freezing of Naseer’s assets which were being held by police, and amounted to over Rf5 million (US$460,000) in cash.

On 8 March the High Court ruled that Naseer’s assets be frozen and held by police until the investigation and subsequent case are finalised.

Naseer filed a law suit against the MPS, claiming he is experiencing financial difficulties, as reported by Miadhu. His claim was heard at the High Court yesterday.

The PG and Attorney General’s office are defending the MPS in this case in a “joint effort” with Deputy Solicitor General Ibrahim Rifath, who is acting as the main primary litigator in the case.

Deputy AG Abdulla Muizzu said Naseer is claiming assets which are not related to the alleged drug offence.

Deputy PG Hussain Shameem also said some of the documents Naseer is seeking are not covered under the High Court’s ruling.