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PUTRAJAYA – Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi today called for the immediate implementation of more comprehensive measures to combat drug abuse which he described as a growing concern in society.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said latest statistics showed that 56 per cent of all prisoners in the country were serving time for drug-related crimes and this phenomenon should be given serious attention by all quarters.

“It’s a pretty disturbing scenario. We cannot just leave it to the police and the National Anti-Drugs Agency to deal with the problem,” he said to reporters here.

Ahmad Zahid was asked to comment on a newspaper report today that drug abuse among Malaysians was not only not reducing but was taking on alarming proportions.

The daily quoted statistics of the Prisons Department showing that 56 per cent of all prisoners in the country had been convicted of drug-related offences, some 33,500 of the total 59,600 prisoners.

Ahmad Zahid said that besides undertaking enforcement against drug kingpins, traffickers and manufacturers through the Narcotics CID and arrests and rehabilitation through the National Anti-Drugs Agency, the government took a more holistic approach through other relevant agencies.

Collaboration was also forged with the Royal Customs Department and the Border Control Agency to prevent drugs from being smuggled into the country across the borders, he said.

Ahmad Zahid said cooperation was also established with the Chemistry Department and Forensics Department to determine the evidence pertinent to the enforcement.

“We also hope that society as a whole can help these agencies to ensure that drug abuse and distribution are eliminated,” he said. – BERNAMA

BANGKOK – A drug smuggler thought he could successfully trafficked 306 kilogrammes of cannabis to Hatyai in southern Thailand from the northeastern part of the country by hiding the drug in a pickup truck laden with hundreds of the ‘King of Fruits’, the durian.

The 30-year-old man from Umnartjaroen province who was nabbed in Hatyai yesterday, thought the durian’s pungent smell would discourage the authorities from conducting a thorough inspection of his truck and its load.

“But when the pickup truck was stopped by police, the man acted suspiciously when questioned by our officers which ultimately blew his cover and led to our discovery of the cannabis, which was stacked below the durians,” Hatyai police chief, Col Kittichai Sangkhataworn told Bernama today.

The man has since been taken in by police for further questioning, with the authorities believing that the 306 kg of cannabis discovered in the truck were to be smuggled into Malaysia, either for domestic consumption or for re-export to a third country.

According to Sangkhataworn, the consignment of cannabis seized yesterday was estimated to be worth around 5 million Baht (about RM625,000) and was well-packaged which indicated that it was destined for the foreign market.

The man confessed during the initial police investigation that after arriving in Hatyai with the load, the drug would then be smuggled across the border for re-export to a third country.

“He also disclosed that it was his second attempt in transporting drugs to southern Thailand,” said the Hatyai police chief, adding that the man’s first attempt was a success, which prompted him to undertake the second trip.

Sangkhataworn said drug smugglers nowadays used numerous tactics and methods to hide their drug smuggling activities from the authorities.

“This time they (drug smugglers) use durians as their disguise,” he said. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Police detained an Argentinian man and seized drug, believed to be cocaine, weighing 4.8 kilogrammes and worth RM1.2 million, at the KL International Airport in Sepang, Selangor, last Monday.

Bukit Aman Narcotic Criminal Investigation Department director Datuk Seri Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said the man, aged 48, who arrived from Singapore, was arrested by the Special Tactical Intelligence Narcotics Group (Sting) at about 6 pm after the drug was found in a bag he was carrying.

“Four packets of the drug were found hidden at the side of the bag carried by the man, who is believed to be a drug mule for an international syndicate,” he told reporters here today.

He said the man was on transit in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, and Singapore, from Brazil, before arriving in Malaysia.

Police also seized RM4,400 from him, he added.

Mohd Mokhtar attributed the success to cooperation from the Sao Paulo Airport Police in Brazil.

He said the suspect was in remand until June 12 for investigation under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act for drug trafficking.

In a related development, he said seven people, believed to be drug mules, had been arrested in the country this year, 15 in 2015 and 22 in 2016.

He said 81,245 people had been arrested for various drug-related offences between January and June 5 this year and drugs worth RM105.2 million seized. – BERNAMA

KOTA BHARU – The Kelantan government today agreed to cooperate with the federal government in dealing with drug-related problems in the state, said Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi.

Ahmad Zahid, who is also Home Minister, said a discussion with Kelantan Menteri Besar Datuk Ahmad Yakob at his office in Kota Darul Naim Complex here, came to the conclusion that there were three main solutions to reduce drug-related problems in the state.

“(Firstly,) we’re going to use the ‘Inabah’ (religious) approach, whereby the state government has agreed to set up a rehabilitation centre (for drug addicts) and it will be a joint programme between the state government and the National Anti-Drugs Agency.

“We are confident that this approach will help the rehabilitation programme achieve optimal results,” he said after the closed-door meeting.

The meeting which lasted about an hour was also attended by International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, who is also Kelantan Federal Action Council (MTPNK) chairman, Kelantan Deputy Menteri Besar Datuk Mohd Amar Nik Abdullah, State Human Development, Education and Higher Education Committee chairman Datuk Dr Fadzli Hassan, and Kelantan acting police chief SAC Din Ahmad.

Ahmad Zahid said the state government also agreed to participate in the rehabilitation programme for prisoners at Pengkalan Chepa Prison here.

“The approach is no longer confined to visits from members of the visitors’ board, but we’ll also focus on improving the (inmates’) ‘qiraat’ (recitation of the Quran), and on prayers and other Islamic religious matters.

“In addition, we have also requested the state government to continue cooperating with the police and relevant agencies, as part of the government’s efforts to reduce crime in Kelantan,” he said.

The deputy prime minister said the federal government was accommodative in establishing closer cooperation with Kelantan for the success of the programmes.

He said the federal government would also hold in-depth discussions with the state government on Thailand’s move to bar entry without documentation at the border.

“We will discuss this matter as well as other issues such as the construction of a permanent wall at the Malaysia-Thailand border in Kelantan (in the future),” he said.

Meanwhile, Ahmad Zahid said the state government would set up a centre known as ‘Baiti Taubah’ in Pasir Puteh for the implementation of the Inabah programme, and it would also provide manpower in terms of experienced religious teachers, to help rehabilitate inmates at Pengkalan Chepa Prison.

“The (state) government is concerned about the problems of the community, and all parties should be responsible (in tackling drug-related problems).

“It is as though we have been attacked by this phenomenon, and we need to sit together and find ways to prevent people from being engulfed with this problem,” he said. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Police arrested four individuals and seized drugs from them during raids conducted at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Sepang and in Sungai Besi, here, last night.

Inspector-General of Police, Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said 24 kilogrammes of syabu and 3.3 kilogrammes of cocaine were seized in the operations by Bukit Aman’s Special Tactical Intelligence Narcotics Group (STING).

“Congratulations again STING @PDRMsia last night, arrested three people in the Sungai Besi area and seized 24 kg of syabu . @GoPDRMGo.

“Congratulaitons again STING @PDRMsia, arrested one man and seized 3.3 kg of cocaine at KLIA Sepang. @GoPDRMGo,” he posted on his official Twitter account.

Two photos of the STING team’s raid success were also uploaded by Khalid onto his Twitter account. – BERNAMA

BUKIT KAYU HITAM – The Kedah Customs Department has made what is believed to be the biggest drug haul so far this year with the seizure of 198kg of assorted drugs with an estimated street value of RM18.3mil.

Customs deputy director-general Datuk Zulkifli Yahya said a team of officers from the Vehicles Inspection Branch and Enforcement Unit foiled an attempt to smuggle the drugs into the country on Tuesday.

“They stopped a white Proton Iswara driven by a 26-year-old Malaysian at the inspection lane of the Immigration, Customs, Quarantine and Security Complex here,” Zulkifli told a press conference at the complex on Friday.

“The driver of the car was ordered to open the boot for inspection.

“The boot of the car was covered with plywood and what looked like a speaker and audio system.

“Through gaps in the plywood, the officers spotted suspicious objects.”

Upon closer inspection, the officers found a number of square yellow slabs, black plastic packets and green bags, he said.

The driver and his car with the seized drugs inside were brought back to the Bukit Kayu Hitam’s Customs Enforcement Office for further inspection, Zulkifli added.

The officers recovered a total of 154kg of heroin, 38kg of methamphetamine and 6kg of ketamine from the car.

According to Zulkifli, the driver’s travel documents showed that he travelled frequently to a neighbouring country.

“Another local man, aged 36, was arrested in Alor Setar later. He is believed to be from the same syndicate. Both men have been remanded until June 5 for further investigations,” he said.

The case is being investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, which carries a mandatory death sentence by hanging upon conviction.

Zulkifli said the seizure was the biggest for Kedah Customs and the biggest in the country so far this year. – The Star Online

SHAH ALAM – Police detained five suspects including a government servant who worked as general clerk and seized ganja worth RM107,000 in three separate raids in the Klang Valley, on Thursday and Friday (May 18 and 19).

Selangor Narcotics Crime Investigation Division chief ACP Amarjit Singh Cher Singh said the male clerk, in his 20s, was arrested while driving a Myvi car, in a raid in Serdang, around 9.30pm, on Friday.

“We found two blocks of compressed dried leaves believed to be ganja weighing 1,971.3g and worth RM6,000.

“Initial investigation also revealed that the clerk distributed drugs for the local market,” he said in a press conference at the state police contingent headquarters here today.

He said following interrogation of the first suspect, police arrested a woman, in her 20s, and confiscated 34 slabs as well as four plastic packets of ganja leaves, weighing 29kg and valued at RM90,000, in a raid on a condominium unit in Seri Kembangan, on the same day. – BERNAMA

TANGKAK – Police detained a 27-year-old suspect and seized drugs worth RM402,173 after raiding a house in Sungai Mati, near here.

Tangkak police chief Supt Mohad Idris Samsuri said acting on a tip off from members of the public, police detained the suspect at his house at 11am on May 14.

“Police found various types of drugs in the house which is believed to be rented by the suspect,” he told reporters at the district police headquarters, here today.

Mohad Idris said drugs seized were 1,278.03 grammes of heroin, Eremin pills (19,000), Syabu (268.98 grammes), Ganja (102.63 grammes), Ketamin (420 grammes) and Ecstasy pills worth about RM402,173.00.

He said a bunch of keys, a Toyota Camry car, weighing scale and plastic containers believed to have been used for drug related activities were also seized from the suspect who tested positive for Methamphetamine but did not have any previous criminal records.

“We believe he was actively involved in drug distribution in Melaka, Muar and Tangkak for the past three months. We are now looking for other suspects,” he said adding that the case would be investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952. – BERNAMA

GEORGE TOWN – Penang police uncovered a major drug processing lab situated in the Taman Paya Terubong flats and seized drugs worth RM6.8 million after raiding the unit at 10.30am on Friday (May 5).

Penang police chief Datuk Chuah Ghee Lye said during the raid that was carried out after two weeks of surveillance, a 50-year-old, believed to be a member of the drug syndicate involved, was detained at the entrance of the unit.

“Among drugs seized were 35.3kg of ecstasy powder; heroin (13.92kg); syabu (20kg); liquid meth (33 litres); and caffein (20kg). Police also seized chemicals and equipment used for processing drugs, including weighing scale, gas stove and food colouring,” he told reporters, here today.

Chuah said initial investigations revealed that the flat unit was rented and turned into a drug processing lab since last month.

He said police have not ruled out the possibility that the syndicate moved from one location to another within the state to avoid being detected.

“We believe the drugs processed at the lab were meant for distribution at entertainment centres in the state, he said.

The suspect who was detained had three previous criminal records for drug related offences and also tested positive, said Chuah adding that he would be remanded until May 12. – BERNAMA

KUALA LUMPUR – Police last night detained six individuals believed to be involved in drug trafficking in Kuala Lumpur and Johor and seized 64kg Syabu, 61kg Ketamine and 23,000 ecstasy pills.

The success of the operation by the Bukit Aman Special Tactics and Intelligence Narcotics Group (STING) who seized a large quantity of drugs was announced by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar in his official twitter account.

“Congratulations to STING @PDRMsia for arresting six suspects in Kuala Lumpur and Johor, seizing 64kg of syabu, 61kg ketamine, 23,000 of ecstasy pills and others. #GoPDRMGo,” he said.