The police and customs seized some 28.76kg of hashish oil and heroin, most of which were smuggled from India over the weekend, and arrested five men, two women and a minor on drugs smuggling charges.
Some 24.9kilos of hashish oil and 4.76kilos of heroin were found in four join operations, the police said.
On Friday, customs officers at the airport discovered 7.27kilos of hashish oil and 1.09kilos of heroin in the luggage of a 31-year-old woman who arrived from Trivandrum on a Maldivian airline flight.
After interrogating the passenger, the police later arrested a 21-year-old man and a 16-year-old boy, both of whom have criminal records.
On the following day, 10kg of hashish oil and 1.98kilos of heroin was found in the luggage of a 28-year-old man who arrived on an Air India flight from Bangalore. A man who went to the airport to collect the drugs was also arrested, the police said, and a third suspect was later arrested in Hulhumalé.
The police then conducted separate raids on two apartment where two of the suspects were living and seized a further 7.07kilos of hashish oil and 1.o9kg of heroin. Two others, including a woman, were arrested during the raids.
The busts together make the largest haul so far this year.
The eights suspects alleged to have been involved in the smuggling operations have since been remanded to police custody by the criminal court.
According to a 2012 UN report, there are 7,496 drug addicts in the Maldives. However, critics say the real figure is likely to be much higher as the country’s entrenched drug problem has grown to endemic proportions during the past three decades.
Convictions in high-profile drug trafficking cases are rare.
Petty drug users are often arrested and charged with possession in the Maldives, but both the police and courts have a history of releasing suspected drug traffickers.
In early June, the police seized 29 kilos of heroin and arrested four in the biggest drug bust in the country’s history.
The largest drug bust prior to that involved 24kg of heroin smuggled into the Maldives on an Iranian boat in March 2014. Only two of the 18 suspects are standing trial. Some 11 Pakistanis arrested were later deported.
The criminal court wrapped up hearings in early June.
In July, two Maldivians were arrested in Colombo with 385g of heroin. According to Sri Lankan media, the pair were “suspected to be major players in a drug racket operating between Pakistan and Maldives through Sri Lanka.”
Some six Maldivians were also arrested in Sri Lanka earlier this year on charges of drug trafficking. The two separate cases involved some 4kg of heroin.
The Maldivians arrested in both cases were also thought to be part of a wider drug network operating in Maldives, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.