THE Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has smashed another major drug trafficking syndicate in Singapore, with the seizure of 10 kg heroin and a stash of other drugs worth about $1.5 million on the streets, in an operation on Monday.
This is the biggest drug seizure in five years and came close on the heels of of the 3.5 kg of heroin seized on New Year's Eve and others made earlier last month.
Continuing its vigorous enforcement, it CNB officers carried out a major operation on Monday and arrested the syndicate leader and seven others, two of them women.
Besides the heroin, they also seized 45 grams of Ice, 68 Erimin-5 tablets, four Subutex tablets with a total street value of about $2.5 million, and $400,000 cash.
The bureau said last December, it received information on a Singaporean man, who was operating as the leader of a syndicate distributing heroin and 'Ice' here.
He obtained his supply of drugs directly from an overseas syndicate using both local and foreign couriers to smuggle the drugs in.
On Monday, acting on a tip-off that the syndicate leader would be receiving a fresh consignment of drugs, CNB immediately swung into operation.
CNB officers staked out at the syndicate leader's hideout at New Market Road from 8 am and saw him coming out from the unit, and boarding a taxi.
They tailed him to a car park at Whampoa Drive. At about 10.30 am, a Singapore-registered vehicle driven by a couple showed up.
CNB's earlier investigations had revealed that this car belonged to the syndicate leader.
The syndicate leader met the couple. After a brief conversation, the couple walked off carrying grocery bags. They then returned to a unit at Blockk 75, Whampoa Drive.
Meanwhile, the syndicate leader drove off in the car and was tailed to a car park at Park Crescent, which was just next to his hideout at New Market Road.
He went to a nearby shop and returned to his car with a large red plastic bag.
He was seen retrieving a spare tyre from the boot and placing it into the red plastic bag. As he started to walk away from his car, CNB officers moved in and arrested him.
He put up a very violent struggle but was subdued by the CNB officers.
From the tyre in the plastic bag, the officers recovered 21 big plastic packets of heroin weighing about 9.6 kg and several improvised 'Ice' smoking paraphernalia.
The 38-year-old syndicate leader has previous records for trafficking in drugs and had been placed under the Criminal Law (Temporary Provisions) Act.
Meanwhile, another team of CNB officers raided the homes of the couriers at Whampoa Drive.
A set of car keys for the syndicate leader's car and cash of S$950 were recovered.
CNB officers continued to raid the hideouts of the syndicate leader's drug associates.
They arrested an associate and a suspected abuser and seized 165 grams of heroin, 28 'Erimin-5' tablets and 4 Subutex tablets and cash of S$17,800 at a hideout in Bendemeer Road.
The 34-year-old associate has previous records for drug trafficking and is also traced on criminal records.
In another hideout at Jalan Bukit Merah, CNB officers arrested another associate, aged 43, and seized 187 grams of heroin and cash of S$2,700.
This man also had previous records for drug trafficking and had been placed under the CL (TP) Act.
Both the associates will be investigated for trafficking in a controlled drug and will face the death penalty if convicted.
At about 12.45 pm, CNB officers brought the syndicate leader to his hideout at New Market Road. From the unit, the officers recovered 21 grams of 'Ice', 8 grams of heroin, 40 'Erimin-5' tablets and cash of S$375,000.
His girlfriend, a suspected abuser was also arrested in the unit.
Continuing with the operation, CNB officers arrested the money courier who works for an overseas syndicate at about 9.10 pm.
The syndicate leader and three other couriers will be investigated for trafficking in the 9.6 kg of heroin seized and all four will face the death penalty if convicted.
'The series of arrests and seizures since the drug bust on New Year's Eve is a clear indication of overseas syndicates trying to flood the Singapore market to generate demand and find buyers,' said a CNB statement on Tuesday.
'CNB has arrested several of the major local distributors and put them out of business.'
'There are challenges that CNB faces in terms of our exposure to the ready availability of drugs in the region. However we remain vigilant and poised to strike at any syndicate and in liaison with our counterparts, we intend to stem the flow of drugs into Singapore.'