Drug kingpin busted by Malaysian police

MALAYSIA - When Malaysian police raided several units of an apartment block in Muar, Johor, last September, they were on to a big thing. They seized 453kg of drugs and arrested three people.

The ringleader, however, slipped from their clutches and set up shop again in Batu Pahat. But the cops were not to be denied.

After a 10-month surveillance operation, they scored one of the biggest drug busts in the country, seizing more than a tonne of drugs from a house. This time, the mastermind could not get away.

The police have been following the case closely since last September and finally conducted an operation on Tuesday evening at Taman Flora Height housing estate here and seized 33 million ringgit (US$10.33 million) worth of various drugs and processing equipment from three houses used as drug labs and storage areas.

Federal Narcotics Crime Investigation Department (NCID) director Comm Noor Rashid Ibrahim said they found drugs such as syabu, pure heroin, ecstasy and ketamine and caffeine in pill, powder and liquid form, weighing a total of 1,156.022kg.

"So far, this is the biggest quantity of drugs seized in the country according to our records," he told a press conference at the Batu Pahat police headquarters here yesterday.

Police also found 1.83 million ringgit (S$720,000) in cash from the three locations and seized seven vehicles.

Comm Noor Rashid said police arrested six people for investigations under Section 39(B) of the Dangerous Drugs Act, which carries the mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

The arrested suspects were four men and a Chinese national woman, all aged between 24 and 52 years.

Comm Noor Rashid said the syndicate leader was believed to be involved in the previous drug lab that was busted in Muar in September.

In that case, two men and a woman were arrested in a multi-million ringgit drug bust with 453.5kg of drugs seized.

Lim Kih Chong, 31, Chye Mei Chuan, 44, and Norizah Arfah, 24, have been charged and face the mandatory death sentence.

A H&K MP7 submachine gun and ammunition were also found in the apartment, which had been disguised to look like an arowana-breeding centre. The houses in Batu Pahat, too, had several aquariums with arowana.

"We believe the leader managed to evade capture in Muar and escaped to Batu Pahat to set up operations again here. This time, we managed to get him," Comm Noor Rashid said, adding that the drugs were believed to cater to the local market as well as for import to Singapore and Indonesia.