The police have seized 2kg of drugs from a State Trading Organisation (STO) cargo boat and arrested two crew members.
In a joint operation with the Maldives Customs Service, police officers raided the MV Bonthi boat with a search warrant while it was anchored near the uninhabited island of Vakkaru in Baa atoll yesterday. The raid was carried out based on intelligence information.
“Around 2 kilograms of drugs were confiscated in the operation from MV Bonthi, followed by the arrest of a 47-year-old and 27-year-old male in connection to the case,” the police said in a statement.
The state-owned STO is the country’s primary wholesaler, responsible for bringing in the vast majority of basic foodstuffs such as rice and flour, as well as other imported commodities such as electrical goods and petroleum products.
The police spokesperson was unable to reveal further details, including which type of drugs was seized. A photo published by the police appears to indicate that the drugs in question was hash oil.
Muslih Maseeh, STO spokesman, confirmed that the company owns the cargo boat.
“We are currently gathering details and information from relevant authorities. We will comment on the matter very soon” he told The Maldives Independent.
MV Bonthi is a container cargo ship which travels across the Maldives with heavy duty cargo. It also makes regular trips to the south Indian port city of Tuticorin for trading.
Credible sources have told The Maldives Independent that the STO boat was also raided before during the past six months.
According to STO’s 2013 Annual Report MV Bonthi has been attached as collateral to long-term loan from the Bank of Maldives.
In December 2009, a Maldivian crew member of MV Bonthi fell to his death while carrying out maintenance works on its mast.