JOHOR BARU: Captagon pills, which were seized in a huge haul by the Customs Department days ago, may not be a familiar-sounding drug but it is a type of stimulant used by terrorist groups to “embolden” them in their acts, says Johor police chief Comm Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.
“These pills make them feel invincible or daring, especially for those out to commit suicide bombings, ” said Comm Ayob Khan, who, prior to taking up his current post in Johor, had helmed the Bukit Aman counter-terrorism division (E8).
He said terrorist groups such as Islamic State (Da’ish) have been known to encourage their members to use such drugs when fighting.
“It is similar to terrorist groups like the Abu Sayaff who use drugs such as syabu.
“During my time as the E8 chief, we did not encounter drugs such as Captagon, ” he said.
Comm Ayob Khan was asked to comment on talk that the huge shipment of Captagon pills seized days ago was actually meant for terrorist organisations.
These groups, he said, would usually use Malaysia as a transit point to move the drugs to other parts of the world including Europe and West Asia.
He said the police will work with other agencies to ensure Johor’s ports are not used as a transit point for such drugs.
“Our main aim is to gather enough intelligence to ensure we are able to carry out enforcement on such shipments.
“We need good intelligence as we cannot be searching each container at our ports, ” he added.
Johor has three major ports.
On March 15, the Customs Department scored a huge success when its officers seized 16 tonnes of Captagon pills worth a staggering RM5.2bil.
The drugs were found in three 40-foot containers and hidden inside trolley wheels at Port Klang in Selangor.
The transshipment was destined for a third country in the Far East but a tip-off from Saudi authorities put paid to the smuggling attempt by an international drug cartel.
Captagon has become the most popular recreational drug in certain parts of the Middle East in recent years.
It is a brand name for the amphetamine drug fenethylline hydrochloride and had originally been marketed for the treatment of conditions like narcolepsy, depression and hyperactivity.
Meanwhile, in another case, Comm Ayob said the police are tracking down a former deputy public prosecutor linked to a series of alleged commercial crimes, including money laundering.
“This 42-year-old former DPP is tied to the Datuk Seri we are looking for.
“Both have gone into hiding but we believe that they are still in Malaysia. Please do not give refuge to these two as we will come down hard on people harbouring them, ” he said.
He added that the police have so far arrested 92 suspects in connection with this syndicate, with 40 of them being placed under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act (Sosma) 2012.
Comm Ayob reiterated that the Datuk Seri has yet to be arrested as reported by a news portal.
On Sunday, police said they were looking for the suspect who is allegedly involved in commercial crimes. The man was linked to the assault of three Rela personnel during a temple celebration in Kuala Lumpur in October 2017.
He is also said to have connections with influential people and enforcement officers.
Earlier, Comm Ayob presented commendation letters to 162 recipients including policemen and civilians in conjunction with the 214th Police Day celebration here.
Among the recipients was The Star’s Johor bureau chief Nelson Benjamin.