KOTA KINABALU: Eastern Sabah Security Command (Esscom) foiled an attempt to smuggle 84,500 packets of contraband cigarettes worth RM455,000 at Beluran on Sunday, a day after seizing 3,500 packets of such contraband in Tawau.
The Esscom team also detained five local men during the special operation at Sapi Nangoh Road Check Point (RCP) at around 5.45pm.Esscom commmander Datuk Hazani Ghazali said in a statement the suspects were driving different vehicles from Kota Kinabalu to Sandakan when they were stopped.
“Acting on public tip-off, the team inspected the five sports utility vehicles (SUVs).
“The drivers were aged between 18 and 46. Upon inspection, the vehicles were found with cigarettes of various brands believed to be smuggled items.
“I believe the cigarettes are being smuggled from neighbouring Indonesia to be marketed on Sabah’s east coast especially in Sandakan district, based on modus operandi and confessions from the five suspects,” he said.
Hazani said all suspects and seized items were brought to the Beluran district police headquarters and the case was being investigated under Customs Acts 1967. Also confiscated were the five SUVs worth RM250,000.
“The total items seized, including the vehicles and unpaid customs tax, are estimated to be more than RM1mil,” said Hazani.