GEORGE TOWN: A staggering 12 tonnes of black cocaine, hidden in 60 tonnes of coal, was seized by police in what’s been described by Tan Sri Abdul Hamid Bador as the biggest drug bust in Malaysian history.
The Inspector-General of Police said they made the RM2.4bil discovery during an operation called Ops Eagle at the North Butterworth Container Terminal here on Sept 10.
“An international syndicate is involved in using Malaysia as a transit point before shipping the drugs to other countries, ” he said.
“We found the 60 tonnes of charcoal in 60 sacks in three containers at the terminal on the same day we launched the operation.
“Ops Eagle was an operation to check Bayan Baru and Butterworth in Penang as well as Padang Serai in Kedah.
“The containers were believed to have arrived at the port on Aug 16, ” he said at a press conference at the Bayan Baru police station here yesterday.
The drugs are believed to be from South America.
Advanced technology was to make sure the drugs could not be detected, even by the canine unit, said Abdul Hamid.
“Normal drug detecting technology would not be able to detect it. But our Chemistry Department has advanced technology that was able to detect the cocaine in the coal.
“The cocaine is valued at RM200,000 per kilo based on its market value, ” he said.
Black cocaine was reportedly invented in the 1980s.
It can be smuggled as print toner, fingerprint powder, fertiliser, pigment or metal moldings.
The pure cocaine can later be extracted using common organic solvents such as acetone.
Abdul Hamid said the Chemistry Department took three days to identify the drugs in the coal.
“This is worrying and disturbing as cocaine is not a traditional drug for addicts in the country.
“It is more of a Western drug popular in countries like the United States because it is on the higher end of the price range.
“I stand by my statement that drugs are our biggest enemy and the drug threat is a huge problem
“We need a more effective strategy in the country, ” he said.
Abdul Hamid said investigations were still underway.
“We arrested a 29-year-old suspect, who tested positive for methamphetamine, who is believed to be in charge of the arrangements.
“He has been remanded for 14 days, ending on Sept 23, ” he said.
The case is being investigated under Section 39B Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which carries the death penalty.
Abdul Hamid also gave a breakdown of drug hauls from Jan 1 to Sept 12 this year.
“So far we confiscated 504.5kg of heroin, 607.2kg of ganja, 4,468kg of syabu, 198.4kg of ketamin, 587.5kg of ecstasy pills, 134kg of yaba and 69.89kg of Erimin 5 pills, among others.
“We caught 19,568 traffickers, 48,469 people in possession of drugs and 62,891 people who tested positive for drugs, ” he said.