The Presidential Task Force on Drug Prevention last week said that a massive covert operation which involves a month of surveillance for purposes of gathering information and intelligence regarding illegal drug users, dealers and families affected, was presently underway in several parts of Colombo, subsequent to which addicts and dealers would be arrested.

The authorities involved in the pilot project include the Ministry of Defence, the intelligence community, the Ministry of Home Affairs, the Ministry of Megapolis and Western Development, the tri-forces,  Police and the Special Task Force.

Director of the Task Force, Dr. Samantha Kumara Kithalawaarachchi said that the addicts taken into custody would be placed in rehabilitation for at least one year and separated and removed from their area of habitual residence.

Dr. Kithalawaarachchi said there was a greater need for public awareness regarding a variety of drugs available besides cannabis sativa, heroin, cocaine and hallucinogenic drugs including those which come in the form of pills and stickers which can be placed on the tongue or inside the cheek.  Security personnel involved in drug detections have outlined the difficulties involved in the process, owing to the fact that those involved with drugs constantly change their methods and materials in a bid to evade detection, he noted.

“Since there are problems in relation to the laws in question, reforms have been handed over to the Chief Justice and relevant units and there are talks with judges and Police officials in this regard,” Dr. Kithalawaarachchi said.

He added that the moment drug dealers were arrested they worked on filing human rights actions and concerns, which have proven to be a thorn in the side of law enforcement agencies in terms of seeing justice done.

“Due to schemes such as easy cash (eZ Cash) and communication applications such as Viber, which are not possessed by law enforcement agencies, it is not easy to apprehend the dealers,” Dr. Kithalawaarachchi warned.

He pointed out that there were discussions to impose the death sentence with regard to notorious dealers.

“Among the dealers, there are various categories from those who deal at a high level and those at the grassroots level. They will be identified and caught,” Dr Kithalawaarachchi said.

“The intelligence part will cover aspects concerning the protection of informants and their families. Drugs are trafficked using international courier services, envelopes and students in International Schools. Any suspicions could be conveyed on our hotline – 1919”.