Suspect in human smuggling arrested

The police said that a key suspect, who was involved in sending 45 of the 269 Sri Lankan illegal immigrants stranded in Togo, has been arrested from Wellawatte.

According to the police, the suspect is a resident of Trincomalee and he had masterminded the operation to send 45 people to Togo on the promise of taking them to Canada.

The police also said that the human smuggling ring leader, identified as Vellupillai Waradan, is evading arrest and is believe to be residing in Canada.

A group of 269 Tamils were promised asylum in Canada and were charged between Rs. 800,000 and Rs. 1 million before they were eventually stranded in Togo by the human smugglers.

The police said that initial investigations led to the arrest of a suspect last month and further investigations resulted in one of the masterminds being arrested on Friday.

According to the police media unit, the suspect arrested on Friday was produced in court today and remanded.

Of the 269 people who were stranded in Togo 103 have already returned to Sri Lanka and statements have been recorded from 8 of them.

The Colombo Fraud Bureau is conducting further investigations.