Authorities fail to take responsibility for 'missing' drugs

Tourists at Velana International Airport. (Sun File Photo)

Neither Maldives Customs Service nor Maldives Police Service has been unable to clarify what happened to the 46 kilos of drugs seized by Customs which went missing, along with the luggage the drugs were hidden in.

The situation reportedly involves drugs seized by the service in two separate cases.

The first case involves a Pakistan traveler who arrived in Maldives on January 8. Customs officers found 30 kilos of drugs in his luggage. While the suspect was handed over to the custody of the police, the luggage with the drugs was not.

The second case involves a traveler who arrived in Maldives on Monday. Customs officers found 16 kilos of drugs in his luggage. Both the luggage and the suspect are missing.

In a statement last week, a Police Spokesperson said the suspect arrested in the first case told investigators that he had brought an additional 30 kilo luggage with him when he arrived in Maldives, but did not know who took it.

Police said they hadn’t been able to identify the luggage with the video footage they received from the Velana International Airport, and found there weren’t any CCTV cameras in key areas.

The suspect was released due to lack of evidence to merit holding him in police custody.

Police have failed to provide an answer when Sun reached out for a comment on the case on several occasions since then.

At first, a media official reported not having any information regarding the case, adding information would be shared once received. Later phone calls went unanswered.

Customs, in a statement on last Tuesday, said that drugs seized by the service based on intelligence received, and in searches under the Customs surveillance system invoked, after the first phase of testing, are handed over to the police alongside the suspects involved.

They denied drugs of any kind seized by the service have gone missing while under their custody to date.

They also slammed media in the statement – accusing them of trying to obstruct Customs’ legally mandated responsibility of surveilling the borders of Maldives.

Customs also emphasized in their statement that illegal substances are not discovered in every search carried out based on information received by intelligence. Nevertheless, they said searches are conducted in response to all information received.

However, they failed to address the missing drugs in question in their statement.