Cargo cover for Nigeria drug rings

SEPANG - Nigerian syndicates are trying to avoid detection by smuggling drugs into Malaysia inside cargo consignments, says the Customs Department.

Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) Customs director Datuk Chik Omar Chik Lim said the department had found drugs, valued at about RM33mil (S$12.7mil)in total, in four consignments last month.

All the shipments were from Lagos, Nigeria.

"The latest finds were on April 15 and 28. In one consignment of hair attachments and candles, we discovered 48kg of methamphetamine in 10 packets," he said. The drug is known locally as syabu.

KLIA Customs then found 30.36kg of syabu in a shipment of grain and 28.85kg of the drug in a consignment of oatmeal on April 28.

He said his men laid an ambush on April 15 for anyone trying to claim the consignment of hair extensions and candles, but no one turned up.

"We also checked the addresses listed on the airway bill but all were fake," he said.

"We think the syndicates are taking advantage of lapses in security measures in Nigeria to smuggle the drugs here."

Chik Omar said he believed the drugs were meant for local distribution.

He said the department was now more thorough in its checks of all shipments and packages from Nigeria.

"We are also in contact with the police and the US Drug Enforcement Administration."

KLIA Customs seized 233.29kg of drugs worth about RM40.45mil and arrested five suspected drug smugglers in the first four months of the year.

Last year, the department seized 98.65kg of drugs, worth RM14.23mil, and arrested 19 suspects.