4.1kg of syabu found hidden in his modified luggage
Butterworth - A man was apprehended for attempting to smuggle 4.1kg of methamphetamine or syabu worth RM820,000 (approx B$350,000) at the Penang International Airport (PIA) in Malaysia after transiting at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) following a flight from Brunei Monday.
The 29-year-old man, whose nationality has not yet been confirmed by Malaysian authorities, was detained upon inspection by Penang Customs Department officials after his scanned luggage showed something that aroused their suspicion, Malaysian news agency Bernama reported yesterday.
Datuk Zulkifli Yahya, Penang Customs Director, said the man was arrested as soon as he arrived at the PIA from KLIA at 11.30pm. "Initial investigations revealed that the man took a flight from Brunei International Airport and transited at the KLIA before coming to Penang," he told reporters.
After further inspection of the man's luggage. Custom officials found a pack of crystalline powder, believed to be methamphetamine, hidden in a special compartment of the modified luggage.
It was still unclear if the man was a drug mule or part of a syndicate as investigations are still being carried out. Records also showed that it was the man's first overseas flight, Datuk Zulkifli said.
The man is now being remanded to help investigations under Section 39B of Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 which carries the death penalty upon conviction under Malaysian law.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson from the Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB) in Brunei when contacted yesterday said they are getting in touch with their counterparts in Malaysia to find out details about the case and will assist in the investigations where possible.
The Sultanate over the past year has been unfortunately seen as a transit point for drug smuggling activities as numerous busts made recently have revealed a trend of some foreigners taking advantage of Brunei's convenient location as an overlay they make their way to their intended with the illegal substances.
In a news report in 2011, authorities here raised the alarm following the seizure of 5.06kg of syabu from a Kenyan woman who left the Brunei International Airport without any drugs, spent a night here and flew off to Kota Kinabalu the next day where she was arrested. It was believed that international drug syndicates were operating here.
Two Kenyan women were caught with syabu on separate occasions at the Brunei International Airport last year Described as being one of the country's largest drug haul amounting to almost $3 million. a Kenyan woman believed to be a drug mule working for an international drug syndicate was caught with over 3kg of Syabu in March last year at the Brunei International Airport.
Last October, another Kenyan woman, was also discovered to have in her possession the crystalline substance weighing 4.41kg at the Brunei International Airport as she was making her way to Kota Kinabalu. Both women are currently in remand in Jerudong Prison pending trial.
In a similar modus operandi, another Kenyan woman was caught with over 3.67kg of syabu at the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) as she arrived from the Sultanate last September.
Just last November a 35-year-old Pakistani man who arrived in Brunei from Jakarta to transit for a flight to Kota Kinabalu was also caught at the KKIA with 1.5kg of syabu.
These syndicates are well known throughout the world and typically hire mules to deliver their consignment across different continents at the risk of getting caught and facing death penalties mostly due to financial pressure or with the promise of romance as per the experience of a few Bruneian women who are currently serving time overseas.
Last December, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) in a press statement said local authorities have acknowledged that the war against the trafficking of drugs, especially those that involve syndicates and the "rapidly" changing modus operandi that utilises "sophisticated and updated approaches in carrying out its operation" has "posed a great challenge for law enforcement agencies" not just in Brunei but worldwide as the international community continues to battle drug syndicates".--Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin