Police smoke out contraband syndicate

Major bust: Comm Sahabudin (second from right) with Central Seberang Prai OCPD Asst Comm Shafee Samad (right) showing the seized contraband cigarettes during the press conference at the district police headquarters in Bandar Perda in Bukit Mertajam.

BUKIT MERTAJAM: Police have crippled a contraband cigarette syndicate, seizing RM7.8mil worth of cigarettes and arresting 12 men.

Penang police chief Comm Datuk Sahabudin Abd Manan said 4.06 million filtered cigarettes and 691,200 unfiltered cigarettes were confiscated during the raid at about 5am on June 26.

He said the raids at three rented houses in Machang Bubok and Bukit Tengah were carried out following surveillance by police.

“We believe the suspects obtained their supply from neighbouring countries and have been active in the northern region for the past four months. The suspects, comprising 12 local men aged between 18 and 38, were detained during the raids.

“Five of them have criminal records involving drugs, gambling and violations under the Customs Act. Nine vehicles worth a total of about RM236,000 were also seized in the operation dubbed Ops Kontraban,” Comm Sahabudin told a press conference at the central Seberang Prai district police headquarters in Bandar Perda yesterday.He said the suspects have been remanded for 13 days under Section 116 of the Customs Act 1967 to facilitate investigations under Section 135(1)(d) of the same Act.

On June 23, police seized 18.49 million contraband cigarettes valued at RM13.86mil after raiding a storeroom and warehouse in Taman Selamat at Tasek Gelugor.

Four trucks, three of them chiller trucks, and two cars were also seized when police arrested five suspects aged between 36 and 63.

The trucks registered with a fresh produce company had valid documents to pass roadblocks and managed to avoid inspections.

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