BUTTERWORTH: The Penang Customs Department ended the year with a major haul by stopping more than one million Erimin 5 pills worth over RM23mil from going into the black market.
It was one of the biggest hauls for the department this year, said its deputy director-general (enforcement/compliance) Datuk Zulkifli Yahya.
The drugs were seized at the MAS Cargo Complex of the Penang International Airport at 9am on Dec 17 following a tip-off.
Two forwarding agents were arrested.
“The 1,541,000 Erimin 5 pills were placed in 12 boxes, and the two pallets were flown in from Taiwan to Penang on Dec 14.
“The cargo items were declared as mechanical parts,” he told a press conference at the department’s enforcement office in Jalan Perusahaan near here yesterday.
Zulkifli said although the items arrived in Penang on Dec 14, the team waited for almost four days before they stormed the MAS Cargo Complex.
“Our investigation reveals that the drugs are meant for the local market here.
“We are investigating whether the suspects or the freight forwarding company were involved in drug trafficking,” he said.
Zulkifli said the two suspects, aged 18 and 34, have been remanded until tomorrow pending investigation under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act.
He added that another suspect was arrested yesterday after he turned up at the enforcement office to assist in the probe.
“We are still checking his background and he will be brought to court for a remand order,” he said.
Last Friday, police arrested a teenager and a man who had nearly RM300,000 worth of drugs hidden on their bodies at the KL International Airport.
Their arrests were another major breakthrough in the Taiwan-Malaysia drug nexus.
In Petaling Jaya, Customs Department director-general Datuk Seri T. Subromaniam told The Star that the licences of 20 forwarding agents will be suspended early next month, following wrongful declaration of dutiable goods.
The licences of these 20 forwarding agents, mostly in Port Klang, Sabah, Sarawak, Penang and the northern borders, will be suspended for six months.
Any further wrongful declaration in the future will lead to their licences being revoked.
Subromaniam said Customs has issued notices to all of its 3,000 forwarding agents in the country to do a due diligence on their customers.
“In the past they (agents) will claim innocence because they are just intermediary brokers.
“So now we are placing the burden on these forwarding agents,” said Subromaniam.
In April, the Department activated the Demerit Point System as one of the means to plug the billions of ringgit in losses in tax revenue.
“We hope this will serve as a deterrent to other forwarding agents in the country,” he said.
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