A huge haul of smuggled goods worth $13.5 million, including cigarettes and electronic items, disguised as sugar cargo from India have been seized by the Sri Lankan authorities in Colombo.
Five container loads of smuggled cargo worth nearly 1500 million Lankan rupess, the biggest for this year, was detained by customs officials at the Colombo Port earlier this week.
Assistant Customs Director Malie Piyasena and other officers detected the contraband at the Colombo Port,
The containers, with cigarettes, shoes and electronic items were smuggled to India from Dubai and brought to Sri Lanka on the pretext they were sugar imports from India, the state owned Daily News reported.
In the customs declaration form, the importer had stated the consignment was 130,000 kgs of sugar in 50 kg packs, it said.
By the time the consignment reached the Colombo Port, the papers to get the cargo released were already in place, and the importer had enjoyed the special tax relief worth $7000.
Customs officials, however, detained the goods for inspection on suspicion. Using the concessions granted to essential commodities, the importer had attempted to smuggle it out of the port on the same night, disregarding the customs order, the reports said.