Excise-STF bust unauthorised foreign liqour distribution centre


Raiding party at Fife Road house used by gang involved in unauthorised distribution of foreign liqour. (pic courtesy Excise Dept)

By Shamindra Ferdinando

The Excise Department and the elite Special Task Force (STF) on Wednesday seized approximately 800 bottles of foreign liquor during a raid conducted at Fife Road, Havelock Town, Colombo 5.

A senior Excise Department spokesperson told The Island that a team comprising Excise and STF personnel had taken three vehicles into custody along with the consignment of liquor estimated to be worth about Rs. 4 mn. However, the STF estimated the value of the seized

consignment could be as much as Rs 6 mn.

Four suspects were taken into custody.

There hadn’t been joint Excise-STF operations before, the official said, adding that they could explore ways and means of enhancing cooperation between them.

The joint team carried out the raid on the instructions of Excise Chief L. K.G. Gunawardena, ASP Lakshman Abeysekera (STF) and Deputy Excise Commissioner Pushpakumara Silva.

The Excise Department said that a Finance Ministry circular dated Dec 31, 2015 prohibited an individual transporting more than 7.5 litres of foreign liquor.

Those who had been engaged in the unauthorised distribution of foreign liquor operated from a luxury house at Fife Road belonging to a person working overseas. The person who had been asked by the owner of the house to stay there until his return used to store large stocks of foreign liquor, sources said.

Responding to a query, sources sad the gang could have supplied foreign liquor to Colombo casinos and perhaps some hotels as well.

The group involved in the raid included Excise Superintendent Rohan Wijeratne, Excise OIC A.R. Lambert and Gemunu Kumarage, Dananjaya (725), Aruna Chandrasekera (915) and Senaka and a group of STF personnel led by Sub Inspector R.M.K.D.Wimalaratne.

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