Illegal stimulants worth MVR 30 million have been seized in the past one and a half months, Minister of Homeland Security and Technology Ali Ihusaan has said.

The minister said that, as most crimes are drug-related, the administration is taking specific steps to solve the drug problem.

Ihusaan said a special task force has been formed to prevent the smuggling of drugs. Out of the MVR 30 million worth of illegal stimulants seized over the past six months, narcotics worth MVR 28 million and liquor worth MVR 2 million was recovered, he said.

Most of the drugs were seized while being smuggled into the Maldives, he said, adding that border security would be strengthened to address the issue. The minister said he is working with the Commissioner General of Customs to raise awareness among customs personnel to seize drugs brought in through the post.

In addition, the administration is working with foreign intelligence agencies to curb drug smuggling by sea and the investigation into drug traffickers and drug network operators in Maldives is also underway, he said.

“The President’s direct instruction is to eradicate [brown] sugar and drugs in Maldives. We are working to unite all institutions with the President’s instruction,” the Homeland Minister said.

In addition to halting the import of drugs the minister said efforts would also be made to reduce demand for them. When the administration took over, more than 700 people had applied for treatment from the National Drug Agency (NDA) and 300 have been admitted so far, he said. They will start treatment within the next month, he said.

Ihusaan said the drug problem in Maldives can be solved by reducing the availability and demand of drugs.