Big drug-processing lab busted in Malaysia; buyers included Singaporeans, Indonesians

JOHOR BARU (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - A multi-million-dollar drug-processing laboratory has been quietly operating from a house deep in an oil palm plantation here.

From its secluded location, it processed and distributed huge amounts and several varieties of drugs for local users as well as those in Singapore and Indonesia.

The operation was uncovered when the police arrested a suspect who leaked the location of the lab.

A raid on the lab in Labis, Segamat, by the police on Friday hauled in RM11 million (S$4.34 million) worth of drugs. It is the biggest drug bust in the country so far this year.

Federal Narcotics Crime Investigation Department (NCID) director Comm Datuk Noor Rashid Ibrahim said policemen raided the lab, several houses and hostels as well as storage areas in Labis, Seri Alam, Kulaijaya and Johor Baru.

They found drugs such as syabu and heroin in powder and liquid form weighing 76kg, 6,109 Erimin-5 pills and a pistol with seven bullets.

"This is the biggest quantity of drugs seized in the country so far this year," Comm Noor Rashid said at the Johor police contingent's headquarters on Tuesday.

Ten men, all Malaysians, aged between 22 and 47, a Malaysian woman and a male Indian national were arrested in the raids.

Among them were two ringleaders who were caught in a house in Kulaijaya. Both men have criminal records.

"All suspects are closely linked to the notorious Gang 21 and Gang 36," Comm Noor Rashid said, adding that the suspects had been remanded until Sept 13.

Police also seized cash amounting to RM38,647 and 17 vehicles valued at a total of RM1.22 million during the operation, as well as jewellery and seven watches costing RM265,056.

The case is being investigated under Section 39(B) of the Dangerous Drugs Act which carries a mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

NCID had been on the case since early this year and was working closely with its counterparts in Singapore and Indonesia, he said.