Businessman held in $4.48mil drug bust

GEORGE TOWN - The police have crippled a local drug syndicate with international links and recovered drugs worth RM11.52 million (S$4.48 million) at a pawnshop in Taman Usahaniaga, Bukit Mertajam.

They detained a 44-year-old businessman at the premises and seized RM954,700, jewellery, four cars and two fake pistols.

Among the drugs seized during the 10.40pm raid on Wednesday were 57.3kg of syabu and 1.1kg of ketamine.

Federal Narcotics Crimes Investigation Depart­ment director Commissioner Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim said the initial probe showed that Malaysia could have been used as a transit point to link up global and local drug syndicates.

He said drug syndicates had obviously taken advantage of the country's "tourism-friendly" and "investor-friendly" policies for their drug trafficking activities.

"We believe the drugs were smuggled in from China. They would then be moved around the region, especially to Indonesia.

"We are looking for the other syndicate members as the suspect could not have acted alone," he said.

Comm Noor Rashid said the drugs were stored in several iron cylinders, and kept in either the premises or cars.

"We had been monitoring their activities for weeks before we moved in. Based on the seizure, the syndicate has been in operation for some time," he told a press conference at the state police contingent headquarters Friday.

He said the suspect had been remanded for seven days.