$1.4m of Ice seized at airport

Officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority have intercepted a 7.1kg shipment of crystal methamphetamine - better known by its street name Ice.

"This is the largest single Ice seizure for 2013," said the two agencies in a joint statement on Saturday. "The drugs have a street worth of about $1.4 million."

The drugs were found on a South African woman who was stopped by a narcotics officer at the arrival hall of Changi Airport Terminal 3 last Friday night. Two wrapped bundles of Ice, hidden in a small bag, were later found in the woman's luggage.

Investigations are ongoing but if convicted, the 43-year-old woman may face the death penalty.

"We are warning syndicates in the region that Singapore has zero tolerance for illicit drug activities and will not allow any individuals or drug syndicates to make use of Singapore's excellent connectivity as a transit hub for illegal drug activities," said the two agencies.

Statistics show that for the first six months of this year, new Ice abusers made up almost 60 per cent of all new drug abusers arrested and Ice is Singapore's second most popular drug after heroin.

About 22.5kg of Ice was seized by the CNB in the first six months of this year, compared with just 9.5kg over the same period last year. Most of it was meant for markets overseas, said the bureau.

Inflows of Ice, however, continue to get larger.

In total, the CNB seized more than 50kg of Ice last year, compared with 14kg in 2011.

On Aug 23, CNB officers seized 6.25kg of methamphetamine, also at Changi Airport Terminal 3 - the largest seizure of Ice in a single operation for the year then.

The drugs worth about $1.25 million were found in the luggage of a 22-year-old Vietnamese woman, who was arrested at the airport. She was due to leave for a third country in the region.

Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.