JOHOR BAHRU: Johor police this week seized drugs worth RM201 million (US$49.8 million), making it the biggest haul in the history of Malaysia's anti-narcotics department, said the authorities on Sunday (Jan 17).
Officers conducted three raids on Thursday and Friday following investigations into 14 suspects of a drug smuggling and distribution syndicate who were caught in Johor Bahru on Tuesday, said Johor police chief Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay.
In the initial operation on Tuesday, the Narcotics Crime Investigation Department (NCID) uncovered two drug processing laboratories and two stores containing drugs worth RM125.8 million, said Ayob Khan.
"Interrogation of the suspects led police to raid the three other locations which were used to store drugs namely a factory in Taman Mount Austin and two rented houses in Taman Setia Indah," he added.
In these raids, police found 3.2 tonnes of Ecstasy powder, 26.1kg of liquid Ecstasy and 117kg of Erimin-5 powder.
Police estimated that these "could have been used by 11 million drug addicts", said Ayob Khan.
Also confiscated from the suspects were four luxury vehicles, RM5 million in cash, foreign currency worth RM231,961, 30 types of jewellery valued at RM124,435, three Rolex watches worth RM250,000 and 62 bank accounts with money totalling RM1.23 million in the raids.
Two local men aged 34 and 38 were also arrested on Thursday in Taman Mount Austin and on Saturday in Taman Gaya, Ulu Tiram on suspicion of being involved with the syndicate. One of the suspects was a mechanic who was responsible for modifying vehicle compartments to hide drugs.
"This syndicate has been in operation since 2018, and rents factory premises and houses to store and process drugs.
"The two suspects are on remand for seven days from the date of their arrests and are being investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952," said the police chief.
Overall, the total drug seizure by Johor police since Tuesday amounted to RM341.79 million, said Ayob Khan, adding that police would be pursuing the rest of the syndicate.