Drugs worth $12.49 million seized

KUALA LUMPUR - It took months of surveillance and a coordinated strike in seven locations to take down an international drug syndicate and seize RM36mil worth of methamphetamine or syabu.

In what was the biggest drug bust this year, police also arrested 10 men and seized RM3.85mil worth of cash and vehicles in the raid, which started at around 4am on Tuesday.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said six of the raids were carried out in Shah Alam and another in Hutan Melintang, Perak.

"The premise in Perak, hidden away from prying eyes, was where the syndicate mixed its raw ingreĀ­dients," he told a press conference at Bukit Aman yesterday.

The raw ingredients, mainly ephedrine (a chemical commonly found in cough medications), were smuggled from India before being processed here.

Khalid said the group would ship the drug, which was still in liquid form, to two of their labs in Shah Alam to be crystallised and sold.

"All in all, about 239kg of the drug was seized.

"If it had hit the streets, it would have supplied about 12 million drug users," he said.

He also added that among those arrested, aged 23 to 42, was the all-important chemist of the drug ring.

"This is the most important person as he is the one with the knowledge on how to produce the drugs," Khalid said.

He added that the operation, carried out by the Special Tactical Intelligence Narcotics Group and Bukit Aman Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department, was the result of months of intelligence gathering and police work.

Police also found a pistol during the raid.

"This is a growing trend in drug busts as we see these groups turning to firearms to protect their activities from the law or other rival groups," he said.

He said so far this year, police had seized 15 pistols, three hand grenades, three homemade bombs, four rifles, four shotguns, two revolvers, 21 air rifles and five homemade rifles.

Khalid said the suspects had been remanded until April 26 to facilitate investigations.