Police Know Who Is Behind ‘Ice’ Smuggling Syndicate

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BANGKOK – The police have identified the mastermind behind the attempt to smuggle large amounts of the drugs ‘ice’ and heroin into the country last week, through exchange of information with counterparts in other countries.

Bukit Aman Narcotics Department director Datuk Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said 21 Malaysians who were arrested while trying to smuggle 226kg of ‘ice’ and 8kg of heroin into Malaysia were only ‘drug mules’ of the syndicate.

“We (police) have exchanged information (with the police of other countries), so we know (who the real mastermind is). Whether the person is a Malaysian or Thai citizen, we cannot reveal, but we know,” he told Bernama here, recently.

He also confirmed that Malaysia was not a major destination for the drugs smuggled last week, and was meant to be sent to other markets.

Malaysia, said Mohd Mokhtar, was merely a transit destination before the drugs were ‘transferred’ to other countries by the syndicate.

A Thai police investigating officer told Bernama they suspected the drugs would be sent to a country in Europe as soon as they arrived in Malaysia due to its high value.

Yesterday Mohd Mokhtar also attended the press conference held by Thai police chief Pol Gen Chakhtip Chaijinda in Bangkok on the arrest of two more Malaysians in Sadao two days ago, with 282kg of ‘ice’.

The arrests bring the total number of Malaysians detained by Thai police to 23, with 516kg of drugs seized, including 8kg of heroin.

A Thai police investigator also estimated the value of the drugs would increase at least 10 times once it reached the European black market.

“The 226kg of ice seized from 21 Malaysians is estimated to be 4 billion baht or about RM400 million, while the 282kg of ice seized from the two other citizens of the country is worth 6 billion baht (RM600 million) on the black market in Europe,” said the officer.

According to Mohd Mokhtar, members of the drug trafficking syndicate were willing to take all the risks, including the possibility of facing the death penalty, if caught.

“This shows just how lucrative this business (drug trafficking) is. Both cases (involving Malaysians) show they are not scared even though we have the death penalty,” he said.

He said the Malaysian Narcotics Department and Narcotic Suppression Bureau of Thailand would continue to work closely, especially in terms of exchanging intelligence to combat drug trafficking between the two countries.

“We (the Malaysian and Thai Police) have cooperated in the past, at present, and will continue to do so in the future. Drugs is the enemy of the state, and it is the main enemy,” he said.

He said the close cooperation between the two countries’ police, which led to the arrest of two Malaysians and huge seizure of drugs was a clear message to drug traffickers in both countries that they were on hot pursuit by the authorities.

According to Mohd Mokhtar, drug trafficking was a global problem and efforts to combat it required the cooperation and exchange of intelligence among multiple countries. – BERNAMA