Customs officers among 11 held in drug raids

KUALA LUMPUR - Four Customs Department officers were among 11 people arrested for alleged involvement in two international syndicates that smuggled RM14 million (S$5.4 million) worth of drugs into Malaysia.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Mohd Bakri Zinin said a three-day operation was carried out beginning Saturday by the Bukit Aman narcotics team and Royal Malaysian Customs Department.

"The detainees, aged between 22 and 48, included four Nigerians, one Indian national and six locals were arrested in raids in the Klang Valley and Nilai, Negri Sembilan.

"We believe they have been involved in drug smuggling activities for a year," he said during a press conference in Bukit Aman yesterday.

The first syndicate was busted on Saturday when police raided a hotel room in Jalan Pudu Lama here where they arrested an Indian national.

Bakri said a check in the room revealed 1.68kg of syabu hidden in a secret compartment of a bag carried by the man.

Explaining the modus operandi, Bakri said the man arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport and checked into the hotel without taking his luggage.

"Instead, he called the airport to send his bag to the hotel to avoid detection by the authorities."

The second syndicate was crippled when police arrested 10 people, including four Nigerians and six local men, in several locations in Klang Valley, between Saturday and Monday. The Customs officers were among those nabbed.

The drugs seized consisted of 67kg of syabu, 9.7kg of heroin and 25.3kg of caffeine.

Police also confiscated a semi-automatic pistol, two pistol magazines, 30 bullets, RM34,950 cash and two vehicles.

"We expect to make more arrests soon."

Bakri said the case was being investigated for drug trafficking, which carries the mandatory death sentence.

In Port Dickson, Custom's director-general Datuk Seri Khazali Ahmad said international drug syndicates were using a new trend.

They use beautiful foreign women to smuggle drugs in the hopes of fooling the authorities.

Their tactics, however, did not fool the Customs Department, which foiled 126 attempts and seized 1,582.50kg of drugs worth RM116 million this year, compared with 117 cases last year.

Khazali said 65 of the cases were at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) involving 710.68kg of drugs worth RM46 million.

Khazali said from Nov 29 to Dec 16 this year, there were four cases where women from Nigeria and China were used to smuggle in 7.7kg of syabu worth RM1.42 million via KLIA and the Low Cost Carrier Terminal.