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  1. Terrapinzflyer
    Tip-offs led to many drug busts

    KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has become a melting pot for international drug syndicates, drawing traffickers from Pakistan, India, West Africa, Iran and Latin America. Each syndicate smuggles in a specific type of drug.

    Pakistani traffickers bring in heroin, the Indians deal in ketamine, the Iranians come with syabu or ice, the Latin Americans bring in cocaine while the West Africans account for cannabis.

    Investigations indicate that the West African syndicates also use mules to smuggle in illicit drugs to other countries, such as Thailand, China and Australia.

    It is learnt that due to the nature of Malaysia's multi-racial community and the fact that there are small groups of foreigners already established here, these syndicates find it easy to blend in.

    The Immigration Department statistics shows that there are about 100,000 African students studying in Malaysia.
    Federal Narcotics deputy director (intelligence/operations) Datuk Othman Harun said police had taken steps to combat the international drug menace posed by foreign syndicates.

    "The most effective weapon is intelligence networking with foreign drug enforcement agencies as it is not an isolated issue, but a scourge that plagues most countries.

    "There have been several instances where successful drug busts in Malaysia were the result of tip-offs from our counterparts abroad."

    Investigations revealed that some West Africans have been making money on the side by selling cannabis to their countrymen or to students at private colleges here.

    "Not all of the drugs brought into Malaysia are for the local market. Most are smuggled to other countries," Othman said. "For example, heroin grade IV is smuggled to Australia while cocaine is taken to Thailand."

    (Heroin grade IV is made by adding ether and hydrochloric acid to a heroin base, the purest form of heroin. Grade IV has a purity of 80 to 90 per cent and has a street value of RM80,000 per 350g.)

    The high price puts off local addicts, who are also not used to the purity of the drug.

    The heroin sold in Malaysia is normally of the grade 3 type, which has a lower purity rating and retails at RM12,000 per 455g.

    It is also learnt that there is a demand for cocaine in Japan and Thailand due to the large number of Western tourists who go there for holidays. Cocaine, which is sold at RM700,000 per kg in Malaysia, can fetch a higher price abroad.

    Police said the drugs were smuggled into Malaysia by mules and passed to syndicates based here. The drugs are then given to another mule who takes them abroad.

    Wed, Feb 03, 2010
    New Straits Times



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