$66m worth of narcotics seized in Malaysia this year

KUALA LUMPUR - For RM1,000 (S$337), a taxi driver was willing to risk the death penalty to courier drugs across the Thai border for a Nigerian syndicate. The odds are stacked against him now.

The 49-year-old was arrested at his company's office in Cheras following a series of raids by the Bukit Aman Special Tactical Intelligence Narcotics Group (STING) on Thursday afternoon.

Officers also arrested three Nigerian men in Sungai Way and seized marijuana valued at RM500,000, effectively crippling the syndicate that had been selling millions of ringgit worth of the drug in the Klang Valley in the past six months.

The taxi driver and his foreign accomplices face the death penalty if found guilty under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act.

Bukit Aman narcotics criminal investigation department deputy director Deputy Comm Datuk Mohd Dzuraidi Ibrahim said the taxi driver was used by the syndicate to transport the drugs from Thailand.

"He was paid between RM500 and RM1,000 to courier the drugs. He has no record. He is not an addict. We are investigating what may have driven him to do this. Maybe he just wanted easy money.

"We believe this syndicate also used locals to distribute their product. We are tracking down the remaining members of the group," he told a press conference in Bukit Aman yesterday.

Intelligence work by STING and Thai police led to the police raiding the Nigerians' home on Thursday.

They later led police to the drugs which were stashed in four bags in a parked Toyota Camry in Puchong.

Police believed that once in the country, the syndicate would wrap the ganja into small packages which would be sold to addicts.

DCP Mohd Dzuraidi said they were also looking into the possibility of e-cigarette users buying the drugs.

On the Nigerians, aged 24 to 34, two of them had expired travel documents while another had nothing on him, he added.

"We are investigating how they got into the country. We are also looking into how the taxi driver was able to move through border control without being detected," he said.

Bukit Aman has made 12,535 drug arrests and seized up to RM195mil worth of narcotics so far this year.

Officers had busted 4,499 foreigners involved in the trade, he said.

Police have also crippled 26 local drug labs this year.