GEORGE TOWN: Malaysian police have seized 12 tonnes of cocaine worth RM2.4 billion (US$575 million) in the largest drug haul ever in the country.
The drugs, found at the North Butterworth Container Terminal (NBCT) on Sep 10, were divided among 60 sacks inside three containers, and are valued at RM200,000 (US$48,000) per kilogramme.
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They were discovered during the Op Eagle operations conducted in Bayan Baru and Padang Serai, Kedah, and are believed to belong to an international drug syndicate, reported The New Straits Times.
Inspector-General of Police Abdul Hamid Bador said the drugs from South America were mixed with 60 tonnes of charcoal, a new technique employed by the syndicate to make it difficult for authorities to detect the drugs, even with the use of canine units.
"Normal drug-detecting technology would not be able detect it. (But) our chemistry department has advanced technology that was able to detect the cocaine among the coal," Abdul Hamid said in a press conference on Friday (Sep 20).
"With the hard work and experience of the members of the chemistry department, we were able to uncover the hidden cocaine."
The containers, declared as coal originating from South America, have been at the port since Aug 16.
Police believe that the international drug syndicate used Penang as a transit point, according to The Star.
Abdul Hamid added that police have arrested a Malaysian man, aged 29, who was responsible for handling the containers, to assist in investigations.
The man was tested positive for methamphetamine, and has been remanded until Sep 23.
The amount of drugs seized was more than three times the 3.7 tonnes of drugs found during raids on Aug 18, in what was Malaysia's biggest drug bust before the current cocaine haul.