Malaysia’s maritime agency reported the seizure of more than two tons of crystalline methamphetamine worth 105.9 million ringgit ($ 26.2 million) from a ship off the country’s west coast.
The operation took place on December 9 when a patrol from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) found a vessel that was moving suspiciously off the island of Penang, MMEA director general Mohamad Zubil Mat Som told reporters.
According to the official, the sole occupant of the ship, a 26-year-old Malaysian man, refused the order to stop, prompting a chase. The suspect tried to escape by jumping into the water, but was arrested.
During the inspection, 130 sacks with 2.12 tons of crystalline methamphetamine hidden in packets of Chinese tea were found on the ship. “This is the biggest seizure in MMEA’s 15-year history,” Mohamad Zubil said.
During the inspection, 130 bags containing 2.12 tons of crystalline methamphetamine were found on the ship, hidden in packets of Chinese tea.
“This is the biggest seizure in MMEA’s 15-year history,” declared Mohamad Zubil.
The origin and destination of the drugs are being investigated. However, the packaging of the tea was similar to one found earlier in previous shipments believed to have originated in Myanmar.
Crystalline methamphetamine is a highly addictive synthetic drug also known as speed, shabu, and yaba.
According to local authorities, the intercepted shipments were part of a multibillion-dollar illicit drug trade that spans Australia, Southeast Asia and China.
“As big as two-plus tonnes is – and it’s massive – the syndicates that run the drug trade in Asia can easily replace shipments like this”said Jeremy Douglas, Southeast Asia regional representative for the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, cited by Reuters.
“The region needs a forward looking strategy that addresses root causes if they ever hope to get ahead of the situation,” he added.