The white BMW car had an emblem on its licence plate resembling a crest from the Johor Royal family.
Three other European luxury cars, including one Singapore-registered BMW 3 series, probably gave the illusion that the owners were successful businessmen.
But Johor's drug cops, the Narcotics Crime Investigation Department (NCID), were not fooled.
It knew the nine men dealt in a deadly trade: Trafficking drugs from Johor Baru to Singapore.
On Feb 4, the charade was over.
Along with officers from Johor's Royal Malaysian Police, the NCID officers laid simultaneous ambushes at five locations in Johor Baru.
The nine men arrested are believed to belong to a drug syndicate allegedly led by a 46-year-old Singaporean.
The nine men ranged in age from 23 to 46.
Yesterday, Johor Police Chief Mokhtar Shariff described the successful drug busts as a win for drug enforcement agencies in Johor and Singapore.
Mr Mokhtar said at a press conference at the Johor Police headquarters: "I want to emphasise here that the Royal Malaysian Police, especially NCID, has a close working relationship with the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB).
"We exchange information. And we have a common enemy - drug pushers. Both countries are equally aware of the importance of fighting this problem together."
Of the nine arrested, two were Singaporeans.
Both are aged 46 and are wanted by the Singapore authorities for drug-related offences. Six of the arrested men tested positive for drug use.
It remains unclear how many Malaysian officers had participated in the drug raids or where the raid locations were in Johor Baru. Mr Mokhtar declined to reveal details.
He added: "These drug traffickers export drugs to everywhere as long as they can make money. Drug traffickers are brainless. All they think is making money. To me, they are killers. They are not fit to be called humans."
The drug haul, which police say is the largest this year for Johor, was put on display on a large table yesterday.
Worth an estimated RM310,000 (S$118,000), the drugs were seized from the syndicate's drug "store". Cash amounting to RM49,700 and $300 were placed alongside 581g of heroin, 362g of syabu, 444g of ketamin, 4,450 erimin 5 pills and 150 Ecstasy pills.
In the police compound, nine vehicles, including three Singapore-registered cars, were parked behind a police cordon.
They are worth about RM750,000. Four motorcycles used by the syndicate were not displayed.
Said Mr Mokhtar: "The seized drugs and vehicles are worth about RM1 million.
"If the drugs had got through to Singapore, (imagine) how many Singaporeans will be consuming them? We are equally happy (with the arrests)."
In a report published in The New Paper on Saturday, CNB said that the Malaysia-based syndicate is believed to be capable of supplying 4.5kg of heroin, about 500g of "Ice" also known as methamphetamine, about 1kg of cannabis and other controlled drugs to Singapore each week.
That amount of heroin and "Ice" can feed about 2,100 heroin addicts and 280 "Ice" addicts a week, CNB said. The suspects remain in police custody and investigations are ongoing.If found guilty, they face the death penalty for drug trafficking under Malaysian laws.
This article was first published on Feb 09, 2015.
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