Drug rings using riders as couriers

KUALA LUMPUR: Goods and food are not the only sought-after items via delivery services as drugs are also “high” in demand during the movement control order (MCO) period.

While most people use delivery services to buy necessities, some parties are taking advantage of the MCO by using the riders to deliver drugs.

So far, almost 4,000 people have been arrested for various drug offences since the start of the MCO on March 18

“A total of 3,923 people were detained for drug-related offences nationwide between March 18 and April 16, ” Bukit Aman Narcotic Crimes Investigation Department (NCID) director Comm Datuk Ramli Din said yesterday.

“From those detained, 208 of them were arrested for drug trafficking under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drug Act 1952.

“We also seized RM7.5mil worth of drugs during the same period.”

Comm Ramli said during phase one of the MCO, the drug-pushing trend was slow but it began to pick up in phase two.

“In phase two, we discovered that large-scale traffickers were back in business due to demand from their customers, ” he told a press conference in Bukit Aman.Out of those arrested, Comm Ramli said a total of 376 people, including delivery riders, were detained for various drug offences

at roadblocks set up during the MCO.

He said the new modus operandi for the drug syndicates was to use delivery riders to send out their “packages” during the MCO period.

“We arrested 376 people at roadblocks for drug offences since the start of the MCO.

“Some 50% of them used motorcycles while 41% used cars to deliver the drug packages and the remaining 9% used other vehicles, ” Comm Ramli said.

“But not all delivery riders are involved in this illicit operation.

“We also encountered those who came forward when they were suspicious of the packages they were supposed to deliver.”

However, those complicit in delivering drugs would often demand higher payment from the syndicates, Comm Ramli added.

He said one of the interesting cases involved drugs hidden in “roti canai” in Gombak on April 13.

“The food delivery rider was suspicious of his package. He went to the police station and asked for this package to be inspected, ” Comm Ramli said.

“We found 11.04g of ganja hidden in the roti canai packaging. We managed to detect and detain a man who was the intended recipient of the package.”

Further investigation led police to another man, who was the sender of the package, he added.

“We arrested the man along with two other accomplices and seized 379.98g of ganja packed in several packets, ” Comm Ramli said.

NCID personnel will be stationed at roadblocks nationwide given the spike in drug-related cases, he added.

“We are committed to curb drug trafficking and abuse. The nation’s number one enemy is still drugs, ” Comm Ramli said.

Since the start of the MCO, Comm Ramli said a total of 3,085 cases were recorded, including five big-scale drug trafficking cases between April 10 and April 13.

“The first case was in Kuala Selangor where RM3.5mil worth of drugs were seized, including 61kg of syabu, ” he said.

“This was followed by two drug busts in Penang where five men were detained on April 10 and April 11 and RM56,000 of drugs, including 6kg of heroin seized. We also seized more than RM1mil worth of the syndicate’s assets.”

Among other high-profile cases were a 20kg heroin drug bust in Taiping, Perak, and a seizure of 12kg of ketamine hidden in boxes of raisins.

“We also seized 4.5kg of heroin and 1.5kg heroin base (used to make the drug) in Bayan Lepas, Penang.

On a related matter, Comm Ramli said 151 people aged between 14 and 40, were arrested for being involved in wild parties during the MCO.

“A total of 12 cases were in Johor, three in Penang while Perak and Kuala Lumpur recorded a case each.Meanwhile, Selangor Narcotic Crimes Investigation Department chief Asst Comm R. Sundralingam said with drug syndicates now opting to use delivery riders and despatch services during the MCO, riders have been urged to cooperate with police.

He said to date six riders were arrested for couriering drugs in the state.

“Most of the time the riders are innocent but we urge those who are caught to cooperate fully.

“When a rider is caught and claims innocence, we will dig deeper and investigate who were the sender and the receiver, ” he said.

ACP Sundralingam added that 407 suspects had been arrested for drug-related crimes in the state since the MCO began.

“We are aware of syndicates taking advantage of the MCO to send their supplies through such services. This is why NCID personnel are now also joining MCO roadblocks, ” he said.

“An array of drugs, including ketamine, Ecstasy, erimin 5 and ketum water were seized, ” he said.

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