- Sub-Inspector and three other PNB officers interdicted
- CID investigates into allegations made by suspect narcotics traffickers who are in custody
- CID finds large sum of money, vehicles used to traffic, GPS and satellite phone at SI’s residence
- PNB officers call for restructuring, says four have tarnished hard work of many dedicated officers
By Asiri Fernando
The Police Department yesterday interdicted four policemen pending investigations into alleged links to narcotics traffickers.
The moves came after the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) arrested four Police Narcotic Bureau (PNB) personnel, including a Sub-Inspector (SI), and launched an investigation into the allegations last week. The allegations and subsequent inquiry have shaken the PNB with some senior Police officers calling for a restructuring of the apex counter narcotics agency.
“They have damaged our unit’s image, and blackened the tremendous work done by dedicated officers who risked much over the years to bring the PNB to where it is,” a senior PNB officer told the Daily FT on terms of anonymity.
The PNB source told the Daily FT that an internal investigation was ongoing in parallel to the CID investigation. “We will have to look at restructuring and purge anyone who has links to drug traffickers,” he added.
According to Police spokesman SSP Jaliya Senaratne, one Sub-Inspector, two sergeants and a Police Constable were interdicted. The four suspects are being held on detention orders. The arrest of the PNB SI last week came after a statement made by suspected narcotics distributors, who was arrested in Minuwangoda by the CID.
Sources close to the investigation told the Daily FT that the suspected narcotics distributors in custody had alleged that they were working with the now interdicted SI and that he supplied them with narcotics. Police found almost Rs. 1 million in cash, two vehicles alleged to have been used to smuggle narcotics, a Global Positioning System (GPS) unit and a satellite phone at the residence of the SI on Sunday. Senaratne said there was no evidence to support the allegation that the narcotics kept in the PNB evidence storage were sold by the interdicted officers to narcotics traffickers. He stated that the evidence storage was sealed following the allegation as a precautionary measure, and an internal audit is underway to ascertain if any evidence was missing. A senior Defence official told the Daily FT that there had been some suspicion that intelligence was being shared by some PNB officers to the traffickers during counter-narcotics operations during the recent past.
“It may be possible that the traffickers had cultivated or planted a source within the PNB to tip them off, these criminal networks should not be underestimated, they also conduct counter-intelligence to protect their networks,” the Defence officer, who did not want to be named, said.