Police officer caught smuggling drugs into Male’ custodial jail

A police officer has been arrested on Wednesday night while attempting to smuggle drugs into Malé custodial detention center.

Police have confirmed that the officer has been taken into custody, but declined to reveal further details.

According to newspaper Haveeru, the suspect in custody is a police lance corporal and he was arrested from the detention center with drugs in his possession.

In March, a police officer was arrested in connection to the largest drug haul from a police operation in the country’s history.

The police seized 24 kg of heroin with a street value of MVR36 million (US$2.2 million) and arrested four Maldivians, three Bangladeshis and 11 Pakistanis.

The heroin had been offloaded on to a local dhoni from an Iranian vessel “Hormooz” off the coast of Alif Alif Mathiveri Island and were seized on a dinghy in the Hulhumalé harbor.

The government has previously alleged security officials at prisons and remand centers are responsible for smuggling drugs to inmates.

In January, police seized mobile phones and drugs from the main prison in Maafushi island while a 20-year-old and a minor were arrested in February for attempting to smuggle drugs into the jail.

Home Minister Umar Naseer has said his main focus during his five-year term will be “the fight against drugs.” He pledged to seal all ports through which drugs enter the country and apprehend all major wholesale drug dealers.

However, the rate of drugs confiscation at ports have been very low. In 2013, the Maldives Customs Service only seized 6.98 kg of heroin and 10.73 kg of hashish oil, and 4.12 kg of heroin along and 8.39 kg of hashish oil in 2012.

Meanwhile, the police dealt with 38 cases of buying and selling of drugs and 130 cases of trafficking drugs, 2,139 drug use cases and 833 possession cases in 2013.

There are 7,496 drug users aged between 15 and 64 years in the Maldives, the Natioal Drug Use Survey of 2011 – 2012 has found. Over 70 percent of the users are under 24 years of age.