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Operation IRENE to recover smuggled arms, drugs

  • Published at 12:24 am July 15th, 2016
Operation IRENE to recover smuggled arms, drugs
In a bid to stop illegal trafficking of small arms and drugs that are ending up in the hands of militants and terrorists, Customs Intelligence is carrying out a special countrywide drive. Along with 33 other countries, “Operation IRENE” is going on in Bangladesh coordinated by the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office for Asia and the Pacific (RILO AP) of World Customs Organisations (WCO), read a statement signed by Customs Intelligence & Investigation Directorate Assistant Director Mohammad Zakaria yesterday. Dr Moniul Khan, director general of Customs Intelligence, said the drive is part of a global effort to ensure state security by stopping illegal trafficking of arms and drugs to terrorists and militants. Several teams of Bangladesh Customs have been conducting the drive since July 8. The drive would continue until July 22, Saiful Rahman, joint director of Customs Intelligence, told the Dhaka Tribune. Although the first few days saw the Customs teams carrying out the drive by themselves, other law enforcement agencies started assisting in the drive from yesterday, Saiful said. Joint Director Saiful said that with the help of the RAB dog squad they recovered suspicious-looking tablets from Dhaka airport that would be now sent to a laboratory for chemical testing. During Operation IRENE, Customs Intelligence also recovered 7,400 sex-stimulating tablets – addressed to one Taslim of Progoti Market in Chittagong's Riajuddin Bazar – from Dhaka GPO's airport sorting office on Wednesday. Six knives of different sizes – addressed to one Mostafizur Rahman of Gazipur's Joydebpur – were also found from the same office. Saiful said they would go on a massive drive from today where all border security forces would be included. Further details on the operation would be disclosed in a press briefing on July 23, said Saiful, one of the officials coordinating the operation. According to Customs officials, smugglers use online shopping and parcel and courier services to bring in firearms, drugs and explosives. Investigators say black marketeers bring these illegal arms using parcel service but do not give details of it in the chart list. The ongoing drive was important to portray Bangladesh's actions against illegal arms and explosives import in front of world, said Customs Intelligence AD Mohammad Zakaria. Sources in Custom Intelligence said they seized nearly a thousand illegally imported arms, explosives and drugs in the last couple of years. Welcoming the drive, security analyst Maj Gen (Retd) Abdur Rashid said nearly 70 billion dollars worth of firearms trade take place in the black market each year. A close monitoring is definitely needed to check where these illegal arms were being used, he said. “If all countries do not take action against these jointly, then it is definitely a high risk for our security,” Rashid added.
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