A special media conference for raising awareness on future operations and the progress of the last six months of Operation “Yukthiya” which was launched on December 17, 2023 to eradicate the underworld and narcotics from Sri Lanka was held on Tuesday (02) evening at the Senior Police Officers’ Mess in Bambalapitiya.

The event was presided over by Public Security Minister Tiran Alles with the participation of the Inspector General Deshabandu Tennakoon.

During the first six months of Yukthiya operation a total of 152, 672 raids have been carried out across the country with the total value amounting to Rs.19,075 million out of heroin, Ice, cannabis, cannabis plants, cocaine, hashish, mawa, thul, kush, madana modaka and narcotic pills seized. The number of recorded crimes decreased since the launch of Yukthiya operation compared with 2,055 crimes in the first six months of 2023 and 1,562 crimes reported in the first six months of 2024, a difference of 493 with a percentage of 24 in the decrease in crimes.

Rehabilitations conducted through the Police Suwasara Kadalla programme within the first six months of Yukthiya operation have been carried out in 602 Police zones in 256 community based centres with 12,800 drug addicts in line for rehabilitation and 1,302 of them already rehabilitated by now.

The Pawura Sansadaya conducted by the Yukthiya operation with the aim of protecting areas surrounding schools from drugs by installing drug committees have been established in 45 Police Divisions in each province and the number of schools identified to establish Pawura Sansadaya drug committees are 5,227.

Speaking to the media reporters gathered at the event Public Security Minister Tiran Alles said that no matter what threats may continue to come upon his life from external forces to stop the Yukthiya operation in the country, he will ensure that with the gigantic re-launch of Yukthiya special operation from July 4 with the leadership and support provided by IGP Deshabandu Tennakoon with the Police force, underworld and drug trafficking will be controlled and eradicated with a new approach where the people in the country will strongly feel the positive impact out of it.

Speaking to the media reporters at the event the IGP Deshabandu Tennakoon said that the country’s people have mostly praised the positive results achieved within the first six months since the launch of “Yukthiya” Operation to eradicate the underworld and drugs from the nation even though there have been threats from both overseas and local groups pressurising to stop the operation from the time of launching the special operation countrywide.

The IGP said that since 1982 when the first arrest was made on charges of possessing heroin, for 40 years until 2022 at least 1 to 2 generations of people surmounting to 5,979 have been identified by the Police Intelligence Unit and Police Narcotics Bureau as those who have been selling and conducting drug trafficking in the country freely as their main business and livelihood living extremely comfortable and luxury lives from the earnings buying properties, vehicles and other highly expensive assets.

He said that two groups have been identified involved in drug trafficking, those who send drugs to the country and those who bring down transporting drugs to the country from overseas. Through the special operation, with the information gathered by the intelligence unit, those who bring down and transport narcotics via sea routes have been mostly arrested. Fishermen have been mainly identified as those who bring in drugs sent from overseas hidden inside their vessels. Drugs brought into the land via the sea from Galle, Matara, Mannar or Puttalam are being distributed across the country by a network of drug traffickers.

The IGP said that he and Public Security Minister Alles decided to attack the drug distribution network in the country by arresting them while using sharp intelligence tactics and work towards capturing those who send drugs living overseas, which is how the Yukthiya special operation was launched. Out of the 5,979 identified drug traffickers in the country that was listed, 5,449 have been arrested within the first six months of Yukthiya operation which is a 91 percent progress of eradicating drug trafficking in the country both in urban and remote areas. A total of 1,788 have recommenced drug trafficking operations after release from Court detentions together with new arrivals in the drug distribution business within the first six months. A total of 3,765 drug addicts have been rehabilitated during the first six months. 837 cases of asset inquiries have been opened and Rs. 1,425 million worth illegally earned assets have been seized during the six month period. He said that even though these 1,788 drug traffickers will be arrested within the next three months, the drug trafficking network in the country cannot be easily eradicated within a short time as those involved in the trade have made it their lifestyle and culture.

Explaining the new approach of how the Yukthiya operation will commence going forward, the IGP said that a list has been made based on all provinces of all the drug traffickers and 80 percent of them have been already arrested and only another 20 percent are yet to be captured. Those engaged in the drug business will be captured using the Anti-Money Laundering law and the Narcotics law in order to seize all assets possessed by the drug traffickers through the money earned from distributing and selling narcotics. Asset inquiries will begin from July 4 to seize all assets gained by those involved in the drug trafficking network who have been arrested. The second new approach will be to free the drug addicts from their addiction into all types of narcotics they use as the majority of crimes happen in the country due to drugs.

The vision of Yukthiya operation is to create a country free of crimes where people can live without fear and the biggest obstacle to achieve this is drugs. Police launched its own countrywide community based drug rehabilitation centres with 286 of them already operating named “Suwasara Kadalla” and will rehabilitate 12,580 drug addicts within the next two months. Tennakoon said that by end December 2024 he will ensure that 50 percent of crimes committed by drug addicts will be reduced in comparison with last year (2023) by sending them to Police drug rehabilitation centres with another 256 centres that will be opened countrywide.

The IGP emphasised that from 04 July, the Yukthiya special operation will be re-launched with a fresh and novel approach to eradicate drugs and underworld from the country that will be strongly felt by everybody. He stressed that all firearms including T 56 weapons possessed by those illegally to commit crime in the country will be seized completely with the re-launch of Yukthiya from 04 July.



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