TN police search Tiruchi special camp for foreigners, seize 60 mobiles

TN police search Tiruchi special camp for foreigners, seize 60 mobiles

Move comes a month after NIA probe into link of inmates to global drug cartel

Tamil Nadu police on Friday (August 19) conducted a surprise check in the special camp in Tiruchi, about a month after the National Investigation Agency (NIA) conducted a search operation there. The police seized about 60 mobile phones in use without permission by the inmates. 

The NIA, on July 20, raided the premises in connection with an international drug cartel case allegedly linked to a few of the inmates, particularly Sri Lankan nationals, lodged in the special camp.

“The search operation was conducted as a part of the investigation, but not related to the NIA case. The phones will be subjected to cyber forensic analysis if needed,” a senior police personnel in Tiruchi told The Federal.

Vizhinjam drugs case

During the NIA’s search operation, as many as 70 mobile phones were seized. According to sources, some of the Sri Lankan nationals in the special camp, suspected to be cadres of banned terrorist organisation LTTE, were investigated in connection with the drugs case case.

They were primarily arrested in connection with the Vizhinjam drugs and arms trafficking case and lodged in the special camp. On March 25, 2021, about 301 kg of heroin, five AK-47 rifles and some other ammunition were seized from the vessel Ravihansi off the Vizhinjam port, and the case was investigated by the NIA.

Sources privy to the investigation said the raid on Friday was not part of the NIA case, but to keep a check on the drug smuggling network that is suspected to have been operating from the special camp.

“The inmates in the special camp were suspected to have been involved in a drug smuggling case and operating the network from inside the special camp. Largely, they are operating the drug smuggling network with the mobile phones they use inside the special camp,” the senior police officer added.

Separate case

A separate case with regard to the seizure of the mobile phones will also be registered and a probe would be initiated on that as well.

Unlike other prisons in Tamil Nadu, the Tiruchi special camp for foreigners is managed by the state’s revenue department. Foreign nationals are lodged in the camp over various criminal charges.

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