KUALA LUMPUR - Four grassroots politicians with Datuk titles and a Datuk Seri were among 60 hardened gangsters detained in the biggest swoop on organised crime this year that yielded lethal weapons and drugs, under a police special operation Op Cantas Khas.
The Datuks and 34 others were members of the notorious Gang 360 Devan, a splinter faction of Gang 36 notorious for robberies, extortion, drug trafficking and kidnapping while the Datuk Seri was the leader of the Gang 24 Penang.
Gang 360 Devan came into the spotlight when it began its reign of terror by murdering competitors, mainly from arch-rival, the Satu Hati gang, equally notorious for drug pushing, luxury car thefts and hijacking.
The gang's illicit activities in the Klang Valley lasted for two years before Bukit Aman came down hard on it with the arrests of the 38 men.
A CZ 9mm pistol and 11 bullets were discovered when police seized a Toyota Fortuner SUV belonging to one of the Datuks in Kajang earlier this month.
Federal CID director Comm Datuk Seri Mohmad Salleh said they nabbed the 38 members of the Gang 360 Devan, aged between 19 and 62, in a series of co-ordinated raids.
"We had been monitoring them for some time before we launched the raids simultaneously.
"We caught them all by surprise. They did not even have a chance to give warnings among themselves," he said, adding that the suspects were cooperating with police investigations.
"The arrests led us to seize a Baretta .22 calibre pistol and 40 bullets at a house in Cheras.
"One of the suspects then led us to six other pistols, a Vixen sniper rifle and 717 bullets hidden in the ceiling of a house in Bandar Sri Permaisuri," he told reporters at the city police headquarters yesterday.
Comm Mohmad said another suspect also led police to an unoccupied house in First Residence Kepong Baru where police found a bag containing 20.3kg of syabu and 10.8kg of heroin worth RM1.75mil (S$560,000).
"We believe the drugs were set for the local market as the gang also had access to weighing scales, sealing machines and plastic packets," he said, adding that the drugs were estimated to satisfy the habits of 156,000 drug abusers.
Comm Mohmad said the gang has been connected to the kidnap-and-murder of two Satu Hati gang members in August 2015, the murder of S. Surya Kumar at Jinjang Selatan on Jan 25 last year and his right-hand man V. Kandasamy six months later at Danau Kota Setapak.
Of the 38 suspects held, 22 have been detained under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act or Sosma while 16 others are being investigated for murder.
"The 16 will also be detained under Sosma once their remand expires," he added.
On the four Datuks, Comm Mohmad said they were involved in politics but did not enjoy a high profile.
He declined to reveal their political affiliations.
On the possibility that one of the weapons seized was connected to the brutal murder of Deputy Customs director-general Datuk Shaharuddin Ibrahim in 2013, Comm Mohmad said police were waiting for the results of a ballistics test on the weapon.
Comm Mohmad also confirmed that the leader of Penang's notorious Gang 24, who is a Datuk Seri, was among 22 men held in another spate of arrests.
These gang members, aged between 24 and 55, were arrested in raids in Penang and Genting Highlands on Jan 27.
"We also seized three Glock 19 pistols, 60 bullets and RM130,000 cash," he said, adding that nine other suspects were believed to have escaped and were currently being sought by police.
One of the nine suspects was involved in the beating of a man at a funeral parlour in Penang during the wake of the gang's No. 2 known as "Datuk M" (M for Muda), a video of which later went viral on social media, added Comm Mohmad.
"Another one of the nine was believed to have been present when Datuk M was shot dead by his bodyguard," he said.