GEORGE TOWN: Penang's Marine Police have seized RM9.49mil worth of drugs and arrested five suspects in a major blow to a drug syndicate using the state as a transit point.
Penang police chief Comm Datuk Sahabudin Abd Manan said on Monday (Feb 22) it was believed the syndicate was smuggling drugs through Penang from a country in the north to Aceh in Indonesia.
He said during the raids, police confiscated 263.7kg of drugs believed to be syabu in 245 gold-coloured plastic packages.
“This is the biggest haul so far this year (2021) by the state police.
“On Feb 17 at around 6.30pm, Marine Police who were on Ops Benteng Covid patrol arrested two Indonesians, aged 29 and 33, who were on a boat in the waters of Teluk Tempoyak.
“Both are labourers and tested negative for drugs.
“They failed to produce identification documents and were arrested before being handed over to the state Marine Intelligence Unit for further investigations, ” he told a press conference at the state police headquarters here.
Comm Sahabudin said after interrogating the suspects, police raided a fishing hut and an illegal jetty at the Keluang riverbank in Bayan Lepas.
“On Feb 18, at around 4am, a team from Batu Uban raided the hut and arrested an unemployed 55-year-old local man.
“He tested positive for drugs and was found to have 11 prior drug and gambling offences.
“Following the raid, the team found a boat with 130 gold-coloured plastic packages believed to be syabu.
“Further investigation found a white car nearby with 115 more packages inside.
“Following interrogation of the three suspects, police arrested a fisherman at his house in Sungai Ara in Bayan Lepas and also a 57-year-old man in Kuala Juru.
“The 58-year-old fisherman tested positive for drugs and has two previous records whereas the 57-year-old suspect is the owner of a boat repair workshop in Juru. He tested negative for drugs but also has a criminal record," he said.
The case is being investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.
The first three suspects arrested were remanded for seven days from Feb 18 while remand of the other two suspects ends on Tuesday (Feb 23).
Comm Sahabudin said RM30,950 cash, four vehicles worth RM104,000 and some jewellery worth RM52,000 were also confiscated in the raids.
“The drug supply could have supported the habits of 1.32 million users.
“It is believed that the syndicate has been active since December, ” he added.
Police believe the syndicate carried out its transactions at sea owing to tight security checks ashore during the movement control order.
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