GEORGE TOWN: Penang police have smashed an international drug trafficking syndicate that has been using the waters off the state as the transit point in moving drugs from Thailand to Indonesia since December last year.
The Marine Police Force recorded this success following the arrest of five men, two of whom are Indonesian, and seizure of 263.7 kg of syabu worth RM9.49 million in raids conducted last Wednesday and Thursday.
Penang Police chief Datuk Sahabudin Abd Manan, in disclosing the details at a press conference today, said the police also seized two fibre boats, four land vehicles valued at RM104,000, jewellery worth RM52,000 and RM30,950 cash.
The Malaysian and Indonesian masterminds of the syndicate are among the men who were arrested, he said, adding that all five are being remanded for investigation under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 that provides for the death sentence upon conviction.
In relating what happened, Sahabudin said a Marine Police Force team on an Op Benteng patrol in the waters of Teluk Tempoyak on Wednesday detained a fibre boat and two Indonesians on board at 6.30 pm after finding that the men had no travel documents.
“They were handed over to the Marine Police Force intelligence unit. After questioning them, the police raided a fisherman’s hut at an illegal jetty by a bank of Sungai Keluang in Bayan Lepas near here at 4 am last Thursday.
“They arrested a 55-year-old unemployed Malaysian man there. They also found 130 packages containing the drugs in a fibre boat nearby.
“The police also found a Mazda car there and found 115 packages of the drugs in a compartment carved out in the space between the rear seat and the boot of the vehicle,” he said.
Sahabudin said the police raided a house in Sungai Ara and arrested a 58-year-old fisherman, suspected to be the Malaysian mastermind, who has past criminal records and tested positive for drugs.
He also said that the police arrested a 57-year-old man in Kuala Juru, Bukit Mertajam, near here who runs a boat repair workshop and is believed to have links with the syndicate.
Sahabudin said the two Indonesians, aged 29 and 33, had travelled by boat from Acheh province in Indonesia to the Malaysian waters to buy the drugs at sea so as to avoid detection under the tight police security in place for the Movement Control Order due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The 33-year-old man is the Indonesian mastermind of the syndicate,” he said, adding that the two Indonesians are labourers in their country.
Sahabudin said the man who was arrested in the fishermen’s hunt in Bayan Lepas has 11 past criminal records, including related to drugs, and had tested positive for drugs as well.
The seized syabu was destined for the Acheh market, he said. — Bernama