67 individuals who attempted to illegally flee Sri Lanka have been taken into custody by the Sri Lanka Navy in Sallisampaltivu, Trincomalee yesterday.
The arrests were made during a special operation carried out by a group of Navy personnel from the Naval Dockyard in coordination with the Nilaveli Police.
The Navy arrested a group of 12 male suspects aged between 30 and 40 years initially.
The Navy said based on information revealed by the apprehended suspects, vessels were deployed to locate a multiday fishing trawler in seas off Trincomalee.
A further 55 individuals, aged between three and 53 years, including five smugglers were then apprehended.
The Navy said seven females and three children are among those detained in the operation.
One multiday fishing trawler, two three wheelers, a cab and a van used by the group had also been taken into custody.
The suspects are residents of Jaffna, Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Puttalam, Ampara, Ratnapura, Gampaha and Colombo.
The Navy has made arrangements to handover the suspects to Nilaveli and Uppuveli Police for further legal action.