Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cops smash drug syndicate


KUALA LUMPUR: Police have smashed an international drug trafficking syndicate that pays local college students up to RM35,000 to courier heroin overseas by swallowing them or inserting them up the anus.

Five of the syndicate members – four West African men and a local woman – have been arrested and drugs worth RM1.7mil was seized during a raid at an apartment in Damansara Perdana near here.

Investigations revealed that the students were each paid between RM16,000 and RM35,000 for a single job, and they were sent to countries like Australia, China, Brazil, Peru, Argentina, Japan, Trinidad and Tobago.

Police also believe that three Malaysian students who were caught overseas for drug trafficking sometime last year could be linked to the syndicate that had been operating here for over a year.

Illicit cargo: Some of the seized drugs are packed into sachet form to be swallowed or inserted in the anus by couriers.

Federal narcotics crime investigations department director Comm Datuk Zul Hasnan Najib Baharuddin said the students smuggled the drugs either by swallowing the packets of drugs or inserting them in their anus.

“We arrested five people including four men from West Africa and a local woman aged between 30 and 48 years old during a raid on an apartment in Damansara Perdana on Tuesday after monitoring them for about a month.

“Our investigations revealed that the West Africans entered the country after obtaining student visas to pursue studies at colleges and universities,” he said, adding that police arrested them while they were in the midst of packing the drugs.

Police seized 3.1kg of heroin and 126 sachets containing the drug during the raid.

Comm Zul Hasnan said initial investigations revealed that the local woman would approach students either at colleges or cafes while the African men met potential couriers via the Internet.

“The students believed they would escape inspection if they consumed or hid the drug packets inside their bodies,” he added.

Comm Zul Hasnan warned students to be wary of strangers who offered them lucrative sums for such jobs as there had been cases of Malaysian students being detained at foreign prisons for drug trafficking.

Raja Munirah Raja Iskandar, 22, Umi Azlim Mohamad Lazim, 24, and Irene Manggi, 22, are among 32 women arrested overseas.

Raja Munirah was arrested in Tokyo, Umi Azlim in Guangzhou and Irene in Sao Paulo.

They befriended foreigners over the Internet and were duped into trafficking drugs. The women were promised high paying jobs and expensive overseas holidays.


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