Mar 11, Colombo Sri Lanka Navy during a search operation in the sea has arrested four suspects in the possession of illegally smuggled beedi leaves.
According to the Navy Media Unit, a group of naval personnel attached to the North Central Naval Command nabbed the four suspects with 15 packs of beedi leaves during a search carried out in the sea area of Urumalei, Mannar yesterday (10th March).
Meanwhile, Navy Marines during further operations conducted seized three more packs containing beedi leaves at Sand Dunes IV in Mannar.
Accordingly, a total of 706.32 kg of beedi leaves has been found by the Navy. The consignment is believed to have been smuggled from India into the country.
The arrested persons are residents of Pesalai in Mannar, aged 26, 33, 34 and 39. The suspects along with the stock of beedi leaves have been handed over to the Jaffna Customs for onward investigation.
The Navy also recovered a haul of beedi leaves weighing 39.8 kg floating in the seas south of the Delft Island yesterday. During search operations conducted by the Navy on 07th and 08th of this month in the sea area of Pesalai, Navy had taken 1377.15 kg of abandoned beedi leaves into custody.
With the recent stock, the Navy has seized 2652.27kg of beedi leaves attempted to be smuggled into the island, so far in the year.
In the wake of heavy taxes levied on the cigarette industry, a significant growth in the production and consumption of beedi, which is cheaper and potentially more harmful, and the smuggling of tendu leaves from India have been observed.