KUALA LUMPUR: A restaurant chain owner served more than just mamak food. Two of his restaurants were found to be fronts for drug-related activities.
The 40-year-old owner was nabbed on Thursday after his restaurants in Kuala Lumpur were found to be storing and packing the party drug ketamine.
Police are investigating if he had also sold the drugs to customers at the two restaurants, which have been operating for at least three years.
Five Indian nationals, aged 30 to 36, who were suspected of smuggling the drug for the restaurant owner, have also been nabbed.
It is learnt that the foreigners, here on tourist visas, lived at the three-storey shop houses where the restaurants are located.
The drug, an animal anaesthetic, had lately made its way here from southern India after authorities in China, the Philippines and Singapore started massive crackdowns against racketeers.
Ketamine is a legal drug that is used in the veterinary sector in India.
Federal Narcotics police department director Deputy Comm Najib Abdul Aziz said following a tip-off a police team raided the first restaurant on Thursday.
They seized two pieces of luggage containing 33kg of ketamine, with an estimated street value of more than RM1mil.
The drugs were packed in lentil bean packets and newspapers.
The restaurant owner and two of the Indian nationals, who were on their way to meet several prospective buyers, were nabbed.
About an hour later, police arrested three other Indian nationals at the other restaurant.
DCP Najib said the suspects had used various means to smuggle in the drugs, like hiding them in luggage with secret compartments, sticking the drug sachets to their bodies with masking tape and concealing the smuggled items by wearing loose clothes, and by sending the drugs into the country via courier service.
Police believed that a syndicate was involved and that it had many members in other parts of the country smuggling in the drugs from abroad.
“We are also investigating if they had sold the drugs to other syndicates that later process the illegal substance into amphetamine-type pills,” said DCP Najib.