$595k of drugs seized in 4-day op

The haul of drugs and cash seized during the four-day operation this week by CNB officers, who carried out islandwide raids, including on budget hotels and nightspots.
The haul of drugs and cash seized during the four-day operation this week by CNB officers, who carried out islandwide raids, including on budget hotels and nightspots.ST PHOTO: LAU FOOK KONG

115 suspected drug offenders arrested; haul includes 6.2kg of cannabis, 2.5kg of heroin

It was around 3am on Thursday, "ladies' night" at a nightclub - but the music had stopped and the lights had come on.

"This bag, is it yours?" a man in a black vest asked a young partygoer.

It was a raid by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). The man was one of many officers stationed between tables of partygoers in the club.

The agency's four-day operation this week led to the seizure of about $595,000 worth of drugs, with 115 suspected drug offenders arrested.

The drug haul included 6.2kg of cannabis, 2.5kg of heroin, 1kg of Ice, 1,807 Erimin-5 tablets, 506 Ecstasy tablets and a small amount of cocaine, ketamine and LSD stamps.

The cannabis and most of the heroin were recovered from a unit in Fernvale Link following a raid on Wednesday night. Two men, aged 29 and 33, and a 37-year-old woman were arrested there.

Officers searched the older man's unit in Punggol Central, recovering some 630g of Ice, or methamphetamine, and 719 Erimin-5 tablets.

In the same week, narcotics officers raided budget hotels and nightspots as well.

At a hotel in Balestier, they arrested a 35-year-old man and a 22-year-old woman in a room after seizing about 9.7g of Ice, a digital weighing scale and items such as an improvised smoking apparatus.

The Straits Times accompanied CNB officers on two operations, to budget hotels and nightspots respectively.

One of those raids was on a nightclub in the Bukit Merah area after 3am on Thursday.

Half an hour after the checks started, narcotics officers found a smoking apparatus for methamphetamine in the backpack of a woman seated in a booth.

"Why is this in your bag?" one of the officers asked the woman.

She replied that she did not know, and she was taken to CNB for questioning and a urine test.

During the raid, other patrons, who were not allowed to leave the club, waited as officers noted their particulars and interviewed them, observing for signs of drug consumption.

They were then searched by the officers. While most were cooperative, there were some raised voices at times as customers questioned the officers, asking why they could not leave and protesting when their friends were taken away.

A total of 15 people were arrested on suspicion of drug consumption in the raid.

CNB arrested 1,684 drug abusers in the first half of last year, most of whom were users of methamphetamine and heroin. Close to 40 per cent were new abusers, with a majority below 30 years old.

Those convicted of trafficking in more than 500g of cannabis or over 15g of pure heroin may face the death penalty.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 30, 2016, with the headline '$595k of drugs seized in 4-day op'. Print Edition | Subscribe