Drug kingpin arrested in India

A Maldivian drug kingpin, who was among the top six dealers the President announced had been identified by the government, has been arrested in India on a joint special operation conducted by Maldives police and the Indian Drug Bureau.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that the man was arrested yesterday while he was in India.

“He was arrested in a joint special operation conducted by the police Drug Enforcement Department and India’s Drug Bureau,” Shiyam said. “He is currently being held in detention in India.”

Shiyam said that his name and other details of the operation will be provided later.

On February 28 last year, Criminal Court ruled that Adam Naseer of H. Reendhooge was innocent of dealing drugs. He was later named by the President as one of the top drug dealers in the Maldives.

Police searched Naseer’s home in Addu Atoll on 30 June 2009, where they found over Rf6 million (US$461,500) in cash and a tin containing drugs outside his house.

On June 26, police 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.

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 on June 24, along with several companions also suspected of being involved in supplying drugs.


Supreme Court orders rearrest of businessman charged with drug trafficking

The Supreme Court has ordered the rearrest of Abdulatheef Mohamed, a businessman who was last year charged with drug trafficking after police discovered more than one kilogram of illegal narcotics inside his car, but was found innocent by the Criminal Court last week due to lack of evidence.

The Prosecutor General has appealed at the High Court claiming that the Criminal Court’s verdict was unfair.

Delivering the verdict last week, the Criminal Court said the Prosecutor General had been unable to prove that Abdulatheef and another businessman, Hassan Ali, were guilty of drug trafficking, due to lack of evidence and witnesses presented to the court.

The court also claimed that no evidence was presented to the court suggesting that the illegal narcotics were imported with the knowledge of both Hassan and Abdulatheef. The Criminal Court then ruled that there was no reason to suspect that Abdulatheef and Hassan had an intention to traffic drugs, and freed the pair.

In May, the Criminal Court summoned and ordered the release of Abdulatheef a day after the High Court invalidated a letter sent by the Criminal Court to the police instructing them to release him to house arrest.

The Criminal Court first asked police to keep Abdulatheef, of Gnaviyani Atoll Fuvamulah, in detention as determined by the Home Ministry, until his trial reached a conclusion. However the Criminal Court later sent a letter to the police changing the court’s first decision and asking police to move him to house arrest.

The police then appealed at the High Court seeking for the letter to be invalidated. The High Court judges determined that the order in the letter was not consistent with the applicable laws concerning detention, and overruled it.

The Prosecutor General at the time appealed at the High Court challenging the Criminal Court’s ordering the release of Abdulatheef.

However, the High Court bench ruled that the order of release was lawful and that judges had the authority to order the release of suspects.


Local boduberu artist Meyna Hassan arrested in drug-related case

Famous local Boduberu singer and close ally of the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) ‘Meyna’ Hassaan Mohamed has been arrested over a drug-related matter.

‘’It was a drug related case and at the moment we are not disclosing further information,’’ confirmed a police spokesperson. ‘’He was arrested last week.’’

A close friend of Meyna Hassaan told Minivan News that he was “not a bad person” who was also working in a good job when he was arrested.

‘’He likes to sing but sometimes gives up his career and grows his beard and becomes a religious person,’’ he said. “Then later he might give up being religious and start singing again.’’

An MDP Official said that Meyna Hassaan was a normal member of the party but had contributed his talents to the party on several occasions.

He responsible for composing the theme song for the MDP Local Council Election Campaign, and a song for the campaign of MDP MP Alhan Fahmy.

In September last year another famous Maldivian musician, reggae artist Haisham Mohamed Rasheed, was sentenced to 10 years prison for use and possession of less than one gram of cannabis.

Haisham, who is also the lead singer of the band ‘Palm Fever’, was arrested with a bag containing cannabis while at a resort to perform a live music show.

The Criminal Court convicted Haisham under Article 4 [a][1] of the Drug Act after he tested positive for cannabis, an illegal substance under the Act. Haisham received five years for using the drug and five years for possession.

President Mohamed Nasheed granted clemency to Haisham and suspended his verdict in March 2011.


Police officer imprisoned for one year on corruption charges

A Police constable at the Drug Enforcement Department (DED) who was investigating an individual called Mabaah Waheed has been sentenced to one year in prison after the Criminal Court found him guilty on charges of corruption.

The Criminal Court identified the police constable as Ahmed Ismail of Mahchangolhi Hinnavaru, Male’.

”Although Ahmed Ismail denies that he did not attempt to receive any benefit from Mabaah, according to the word of Mabaah and documents presented as well as texts sent by Ismail to Mabaah there are reasons to believe these words are true,” said the Judge in his verdict. “All the evidence presented is linked and based on [this] and Mabaah’s statements, Ahmed Ismail is found guilty of violating article 2(a) of the Corruption Act.”

In court, Ismail had denied all the charges, aside from confirming that he was the person investigating the case against Waheed.

According to the Criminal Court, Ismail was accused of asking Waheed to get two girls to have sex with him in exchange for releasing Waheed without taking any action.


Three police officers injured in drug bust

Three police officers were injured in an special operation conducted last night to arrest an alleged drug dealer.

“Police went to Henveiru Kahafathi with a court warrant after receiving information that suspected narcotics were hidden inside the house,’’ said Sub-Inspector Mohamed Dawood. “A person named Mohamed Ahmed attempted to obstruct the duty of the police and attacked three police officers using two knives.”

The acting head of the Drug Enforcement Department (DED) said that police discovered 18 bullet-sized packets of suspected heroin worth of Rf65,000 (US$5,058) hidden inside the bathroom of the house.

‘’I presume he attacked the police to protect his illegal drugs,’’ he added.

The suspect trafficker is now in police custody.

‘’In another operation conducted this week, police seized eight cases of vodka inside a dhoni (traditional boat) docked at Male’,” he said. “Police checked the dhoni in the presence of an expat working in the Dhoni and he is now under arrest.’’


Police seize drugs worth Rf2 million (US$155,600)

The Maldives Police Service Drug Enforcement Department (DED) have seized 1.6 kilogram of suspected narcotics from a house in the Maafannu district of Male’.

Head of DED, Superintendent Mohamed Jinah, said the drugs were discovered last Friday when the police raided the house after receiving a tip off.

“There is no connection with the drugs and the people of the house,” said Jinah. “We are now investigating the matter to find the people connected with the case.”

Jinah said the drugs were caught with ‘raw packaging’, as it had been imported.

He said during the last two months drugs worth more than Rf2.5 million drugs were seized, and 40 people arrested in connection with the various cases.

On September 6, police revealed they had uncovered a new drug network operating inside the country, and discovered drugs worth of half a million rufiya.

The drugs were discovered inside a leased apartment in Male’. Four people were arrested in connection with the case.


Police arrest “top drug dealer” in Laamu Atoll

Police have arrested and identified a man they allege is “the top drug dealer in Laamu Atoll”, during a press conference called by  Head of the Police Drug Enforcement Department (DED), Superintendent Ahmed Jinah.

Jinah identified the man as Hassan Yousuf, 26 of Mathimaradhoo in Laamu Atoll.

“Police and society have recognised him as the top dealer in Laamu Atoll, and he has now been caught for the second time,’’ said Jinah. “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 are lately being used by the 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 large areas [to cover].’’

Jinah 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.

“We do not consider it a failure of police when the courts declare that charged persons cannot be convicted due to lack of evidence,’’ he remarked. “Sometimes when we appeal to the higher courts they invalidate the lower court’s verdict after considering the evidence presented as adequate.’’

Jinah said that police only accept an investigation as failed “when the highest authority in justice declares that the charged person cannot be convicted due to lack of evidence.”

“Police do not have the authority to criticise a court’s decision,’’ he added.

He also noted that although this was the holy month of Ramadan, drug-related crime had not decreased.


Judge claims “suspicious issues” with evidence reason for alleged drug lord’s aquittal

Chief Judge of the Criminal Court Abdulla Mohamed has cited “suspicious issues” relating to the evidence presented by the Prosecutor General’s office as reason for the acquittal of Hussein Mohamed.

Hussein was labelled by the government as one of the top six drug dealers in the country, prior to the court finding him innocent of  importing drugs. He was arrested at the airport on April 9, 2009, where police alleged he was awaiting the arrival of a couple carrying a drug shipment.

Judge Mohamed said the evidence presented was inadequate to rule Hussein guilty.

Hussein was the first to be arrested of the six people President Mohamed Nasheed has previously labeled as the top six drug dealers in the country.

Deputy Prosecutor General Hussein Shameem described the verdict as “regrettable”, adding that the PG’s office would consider its options once it received the case report from the court.

The second of the six arrested, Adam Naseer, was also ruled innocent by the Criminal Court after police searched his home in Addu Atoll on June 30, 2009, where they found over Rf6 million (US$461,500) in cash and a tin containing drugs outside his house.

Naseer was arrested several days later on July 2, 2009.  However, the Criminal Court ruled that he was innocent because evidence presented by the Prosecutor General’s office was inadequate, and failed to prove that the money found with Naseer was obtained through drug dealing.


Anti-gang task force a temporary measure until bills passed, say police

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam has said a special operation to curb rising in gang violence is a temporary measure taken by the police that has proven successful since in began in March this year.

”These are just temporary measurements taken by the police and this way we can curb the rise in gang violence for the time being,” said Shiyam.

”But can only take permanent measures when the necessary bills are passed.”

‘The more gang activities increases, the more police would increase their own activity, Shiyam explained. ”Police special operations are controlling the gang violence temporarily.”

Shiyam said that more than 85 people were arrested in three nights.

”We arrested 40 people one night, 15 on the next and 30 the next,” he said, ”and crime rates have decreased. Some of them have been released by the court.”

He said that police destroyed the wall of Galolhu Masodige after being granted a court order.

”During some operations where we think police might be attacked, we use masks to cover our faces,” he said.

”Sometimes police officers get injured trying to control assaults and gang related crimes.”

He said the recent string of multiple stabbings was related to “an ongoing gang war.”

”It’s just one gang attacking the other and it goes on like that,” he said. “It started after one boy was attacked near Galolhu Sinamale.”

Police have recently arrested many people to try and curb raising gang violence in Male’.

When the special operations started, police said it would not be stopped until the city became a peaceful place.

On 20 March, in a highly-publicised operation intended to reduce gang crime in the capital Male’, police arrested 22 men suspected of being key players in gang violence.

Police sub inspector Ahmed Shiyam said the men were arrested in different areas of Male’ and are were “notable gangsters” involved in gang violence.

Police also collected chairs, sofas and weapons from places where gangs lived, to stop gang members congregating, and stored them in the police tow yard.

On March 25th, following the arrest of 26 people in a special operation to try and curb rising gang violence in Malé, Minivan News spoke to three gang members, on condition of anonymity, to try and learn if both the operation was proving effective, and what was contributing to rising gang violence in the first place.

Rising gang crime: a timeline

During last year on December 28, prominent businessman Ahmed Ibrahim Didi, known as ‘Campus’ Didi, was stabbed and robbed of almost US$300,000 in cash by unknown assailants.

On December 30, the manager Mohamed Rashaad Adam and an employee of the Sunfront store on Majeedhee Magu were attacked on their way home.

On January 7, the Department of Penitentiary and Rehabilitation Services (DPRS) launched a rehabilitation program for recently released inmates who were serving time for minor drug offences. There were 62 former inmates enrolled in this program, with more than 150 still awaiting clearance.

On January 10, a man was attacked and stabbed with a sharp object in the early hours of that morning. According to police, he man was attacked by a gang of six men. A boy under the age of 18 was arrested in connection to the case.

On January 17, police arrested 19 people in connection with the stabbing of Ahmed Ibrahim ‘Campus’ Didi.

On January 20, head of the police drug enforcement unit Mohamed Jinah claimed “it won’t be long” before police arrest the remaining four of the top six drug dealers identified by President Mohamed Nasheed.

“Two of the top six drug dealers have been arrested. We will arrest the remaining four as soon as possible,” he promised.

On January 23, a group of men allegedly gang raped a woman on Fuvahmulah after dragging her to a beach and restraining her husband.

On January 28, six men were injured in a fight between two groups in Gnaviyanni Faumulaku, and one of the injured men died while receiving treatment.

On  February 7, a 15 year old boy and his 35 year old father were attacked and stabbed by gang members in  Hulhumale’.

On February 8, a businessman was attacked and robbed of Rf435,000 (US$33850) and US$7100 on Janavary Magu near Sonee Hardware.

On March 1, President Mohamed Nasheed criticised the judiciary during a Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally and said that the government would not back down and will continue to arrest drug dealers.

On March 2, a man driving a pick-up truck was stabbed near Vaadhee Fresh in Maameyo Magu.

On March 3, the country manager of Habib Bank was stabbed and robbed in his home by a gang of four masked men. During the incident he suffered injuries to his nose, forehead and right arm but was not seriously hurt.

On March 8, police arrested three men in connection with the armed robbery of Habib Bank’s country manager.

On March 15, four men forcibly entered DhiTV studios and attacked five senior officials at the station afternoon, shortly after the station aired a report on its 2 o’clock news claiming that Ibrahim Nafiz, ‘Chika’, had been released to house arrest. Three hours after the alleged gang attack on DhiTV, a Haveeru employee was stabbed in the back.

Abdul Razzag Adam, 39, who works at the printing department, was knifed outside the Haveeru office building while he was on his cycle.

On March 25, a well-known flower shop on Sosun Magu, Cactus, was robbed by a group of intruders who threatened staff with knives and box cutters.

A witness to the incident, who spoke with the staff, told Minivan News that three men entered the flower shop and threatened the staff with knives and cutters, and stole Rf35,000 (US$2700)

On March 26, a group of 15 men abducted, drugged and gang raped a 20 year old girl while reportedly filming the incident with a mobile phone.

On March 30 the Maldives Police Service (MPS) claimed some politicians were using gangs to cause unrest, intimidate people and attack opponents.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed that “police have learned some politicians have used gang members to create unrest.”

On April 19, police arrested 22 people including four children under the age of 18 in Laamu Gan, after they were attacked during a wave of gang violence.

Police alleged gang members broke the glass windows of a shop in the industrial area of Mathimaradhu, burnt down a hut in Mulurimagu [district] and broke the windows of two houses. When they tried to stop the gang members, police claim they they were attacked and a police vehicle was damaged.

On 3 May, two men on a motorbike stabbed a 16 year old child in front of two police officers on Ameenee Magu near Imadudeen School, before fleeing.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said that the two police officers were investigating a motor vehicle accident when the incident occurred. The boy injured his lungs and arm during the stab.

On 26 May, a taxi driver threatened a 19 year-old girl with a knife inside his car. The girl was forced to give money to the driver while she was traveling to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH).

On 29 May two men stabbed a 14 year-old boy in eight places, injuring his lungs and liver.