Malaysians behind heroin smuggling worth RM789.56mil to Australia identified, says Home Minister

KUALA LUMPUR: Police have identified the companies and individuals linked to a syndicate involved in the smuggling of over 300 kg of heroin to Australia, says Datuk Seri Saifuddin Nasution Ismail (pic).

The Home Minister said in a parliamentary written reply that police were investigating the smuggling of 336kg of heroin in a container from Port Klang to Brisbane, Australia on March 13, 2023.

He said that the investigation by the Bukit Aman Narcotics Criminal Investigation Department found that the consignment was dispatched on Feb 28, 2023, using a sea route from Malaysia and arrived in Brisbane, Australia on March 13, 2023.

"Through the investigation, police found the involvement of local syndicate members directly linked to the arrest in Australia,” said Saifuddin.

"Police have also identified companies and individuals associated with the case, and further investigations are ongoing to determine the modus operandi and the involvement of the related delivery company," he said.

He was responding to a question from Datuk Seri Ikmal Hisham Abdul Aziz (PN-Tanah Merah) who asked the Home Ministry about the action taken regarding the drug smuggling incident to Australia via a ship from Malaysia departing through Westport.

Saifuddin added that the authorities have taken several measures to address drug smuggling, including enhancing and expanding cooperation with international anti-drug agencies.

He said these agencies include the Indonesian National Narcotics Board (BNN), Central Narcotics Bureau Singapore (CNBS), Brunei Narcotics Control Bureau (BKN) and Australian Federal Police (AFP).

Saifuddin said this is done through the exchange and sharing of intelligence and information to combat drug distribution and smuggling into or out of Malaysia

He added that the Home Ministry would also strengthen cooperation among enforcement agencies such as the Customs Department, Immigration Department, National Anti-Drug Agency (AADK), Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) and other relevant agencies through the sharing of intelligence information and joint operations.

Saifuddin then said that the ministry's agencies would also enhance monitoring and enforcement at entry and exit points of the country, including international airports, border crossings, ports, and maritime areas.

He added that other measures taken include improving the collection of intelligence to combat high-profile drug distribution syndicates by obtaining quality information from the local community.

On April 14, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim ordered a multi-agency investigation into the case.

Anwar stressed that it would be a major embarrassment if it was confirmed that the second-biggest heroin haul in Australian history originated from a Malaysian port.

On April 10, Bukit Aman confirmed that the Australian Federal Police had seized 336kg of narcotics in Brisbane last month.

The drugs, worth an estimated RM789.56mil, were hidden within cement blocks in a container from Malaysia.

It reached Australia on March 13.

The Australian Associated Press reported on April 6 that the seizure was the second-largest heroin haul in the country.

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