POLICE have busted a drug- smuggling syndicate with the arrest of 11 people and seizure of heroin base and Grade III heroin worth RM34.1mil.
The suspects, including the mastermind, were picked up in six raids in Penang, Kedah and Perak during a one-day police operation on Sept 3.
All of them, aged between 22 and 58, mostly worked as lorry drivers and caterers.
Bukit Aman Narcotic Crime Investigation Department director Comm Datuk Razarudin Husain said this was the biggest seizure of heroin base in the country this year.
He said the heroin base in slabs, weighing 367.71kg and 540g of Grade III heroin, were found in a trailer at the Bukit Minyak industrial area in Bukit Mertajam.
“Two men were loading the drugs onto the trailer when we moved in.
“The drugs were kept under boxes of jeans,” he said during a press conference at the central Seberang Prai district headquarters on Thursday.
Grade III heroin is a mixture of caffeine and heroin base, which is the purest form of heroin and not used for consumption.
Comm Razarudin said the mastermind, a 42-year-old man into catering business, was detained in Ipoh, Perak.
He said eight suspects had multiple past criminal and drug records, and one of them tested positive for methamphetamine during the arrest.
He said seven vehicles, including the trailer, worth nearly RM1mil were also seized in the operation.
He said the other vehicles were Mercedes E250, Toyota Vellfire, Range Rover Velar, Chevrolet Colorado pickup truck and Honda Civic.
“We also confiscated jewellery worth RM17,600, and cash amounting to nearly RM10mil in 20 bank accounts.
“This included the RM6mil belonging to the mastermind,” he said, adding that the syndicate was said to be operating for about a year before the bust.
Comm Razarudin said the case was being investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.
In a related matter, Comm Razarudin said up to July, the Narcotics Investigation Department had recorded 209% increase in drug seizure compared to the same corresponding period last year.
“We have seized about RM1.3bil worth of drugs and properties up to July this year.
“Despite the movement control order, traffickers continue to find new tactics for their drug-related activities,” he said.