Authorities have seized drugs and liquor with a street value of MVR 5.5 million over the past fortnight in a nationwide operation, Minister of Homeland Security and Technology Ali Ihusaan has announced. The operation is executed by a multi-agency task force comprising the Maldives Police Service, Maldives Customs Services, Maldives Immigration, and Maldives Correctional Service. Alongside the narcotics seizure, the operation led to the apprehension of 53 undocumented foreign nationals.

Ihusaan took to social media to publicise the operation’s success, stating, “The Joint Taskforce, established with specific guidance of President [Mohamed Muizzu], have seized MVR 5.5 million worth of drugs and alcohol in the past two weeks and detained 53 expats in violation of law.” This announcement marks the first instance of the Muizzu administration publicising a large-scale narcotics confiscation since taking office.

While further details about the operation are yet to be disclosed by the authorities, Ihusaan’s post clarified that the detained foreign nationals were not connected to the narcotics bust. Local media reported that law enforcement agencies conducted court-sanctioned searches and raids on suspected buildings as part of the operation, and over 700 individuals were questioned. Several locals and foreign nationals found under the influence were also taken into police custody.

Maldives Immigration had earlier announced a nationwide operation involving rigorous immigration document checks and random inspections to tackle the issue of undocumented migrants. “The operation’s primary objective is to reduce the number of undocumented migrant workers and ensure all migrant workers operate within the confines of immigration laws and guidelines,” the agency stated.