A Bangladeshi man has been caught smuggling a new synthetic drug called “flakka” in a joint operation conducted by the police and the Maldives Customs Service.
Briefing the press yesterday, Superintendent Mohamed Shifan said the drugs were found using sniffer dogs. He noted that it was the first time flakka was discovered in the Maldives.
Shifan said the man was arrested at the airport on October 16 with 200 grammes of flakka in his luggage. He arrived in Maldives from Bangladesh via Sri Lanka.
The effects of flakka are similar to that of “ice” or LSD, he explained.
“It is also called ‘zombie.’ So we know from the name as well that is dangerous,” he said.
Unlike some other drugs, Shifan said overdose of flakka could result in death.
Flakka or alpha-PV is a synthetic drug created in laboratories. It is highly addictive and severely impacts the central nervous system, triggering delusions and aggression.
Heroin and hashish oil are the most commonly used drugs in the Maldives, but other drugs such as LSD and ecstasy have been discovered in recent years.
According to a 2012 UN report, there are 7,496 drug addicts in the Maldives. However, critics say the real figure is much higher.
A 23-year-old woman from Thailand was meanwhile arrested earlier this month with 2.5kg of cocaine.
Shifan said the woman arrived in the Maldives from Brazil via Doha. She was arrested in Malé on October 9.
The packages were intended for delivery to other countries in the region with the Maldives used as a transit point, he explained.
The estimated street value of the seized drugs is about US$1 million.
Shifan, the head of the police drug enforcement department, said the woman is part of a foreign drug smuggling network that the police have been monitoring.
Two Nigerians connected to the network have been arrested in Pakistan, he said.
Cocaine use is not common in the Maldives. Shifan said the country does not have a significant market for the drug.