Sri Lanka’s navy has seized $65 million worth of crystal methamphetamine and ketamine in the country’s biggest drugs bust, officials said Wednesday.
Acting on a tip-off, authorities raided a flagless vessel in the country’s southern waters and arrested nine Pakistani men suspected of smuggling the drugs.
Navy personnel, wearing special protective clothing in case the suspects had COVID-19, found 605 kilogrammes of crystal meth, also known as ice, and 579 kilogrammes of ketamine, said Navy Commander Piyal de Silva.
“This is the first time we have found ketamine and it is likely that the smugglers were trying to take this cargo to some East Asian destination,” de Silva told reporters in the capital Colombo.
Sri Lanka’s defence ministry said the drugs had an estimated street value in Colombo of about 12,500 million rupees ($65 million), making it the country’s biggest single seizure of drugs.
Last month, the navy seized two foreign trawlers carrying more than $33 million worth of heroin and ice.
Authorities said initial investigations suggested the Iran-Pakistan coast was the point of origin.