MERSING: Police have uncovered a smuggling syndicate with the arrest of three suspects and seizure of illicit cigarettes worth RM7.6mil.
State police chief Comm Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said that following information on smuggling activities, a team of police, including from the marine police region II, carried out an operation at a jetty in Endau here between 6.30pm and 10pm on Friday.
“During the raid, police arrested three male suspects between the ages of 27 and 51. One of them has a criminal record.
“We also seized two lorries, a boat, two radar units and a GPS device,” he said in a press conference at the marine police operations force headquarters yesterday.
Comm Ayob said the entire seizure was worth RM9.3mil.
One of the suspects owns the boat which has been modified to smuggle contraband items.
“The suspect used to bring tourists to diving spots in Mersing waters but due to the lack of tourists because of the movement control order, he has been smuggling illicit cigarettes for more than a year now.
“Their modus operandi is to wait for a large vessel in Johor waters where they will transfer the contraband cigarettes into the smaller boat to bring them to the mainland,” he said.
Once the boat arrives, the suspects would use the lorries which had also been modified to hide the contraband.
The suspects would then drive the lorries
to several locations in Johor and Pahang, as well as along the east coast area.
“We have reasons to believe that the three suspects belong to a bigger smuggling syndicate,” Comm Ayob said.
The case is being investigated under Section 135(1)(D) of the Customs Act 1967.