Cops nab NGO patron with 'Datuk' title alleged to be drug trafficking mastermind

26 Dec 2023 07:32pm
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay - BERNAMA FILE PIX
Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay - BERNAMA FILE PIX

KUALA LUMPUR - A patron of a non-governmental organisation (NGO) with a 'Datuk' title suspected to be the mastermind of a drug trafficking syndicate was arrested in separate raids in Kota Kinabalu and Sabah's east coast, yesterday.

Deputy Inspector-General of Police Datuk Seri Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said the 40-year-old businessman was among 10 individuals arrested in the raid at 2.30am.

"We arrested two individuals who are also traders and personal assistants, a civil servant acting as a transporter for the syndicate, another individual suspected of being a drug mule and two men who are drug dealers.

"We arrested two individuals who worked as site supervisors and managing directors of a restaurant chain who were responsible for managing the syndicate's finances and an unemployed who was the syndicate's 'tonto'," he said at a press conference at the Bukit Aman Police Headquarters, here, today.

Ayob said that the drug trafficking syndicate was believed to have been active since 2015.

"Intelligence found that it was the largest syndicate in Sabah and had international and local distribution networks.

"They obtain syabu supplies from neighboring countries in the Peninsula to be smuggled to markets throughout Sabah, especially in the east coast, the Philippines and Indonesia," he said.

He said the syndicate was believed to have brought drugs to Sabah using drug mules through commercial airlines and cargo shipments.

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"Drug supplies will be stored in Sabah before being distributed to syndicate dealers, before being smuggled to buyers in Indonesia and the Philippines," he said.

Ayob said preliminary investigations found that the syndicate's members aged between 30 and 48 owned various assets such as luxury vehicles, bungalows and 12 business companies in the fields of tourism, construction, petrochemicals, oil and gas as well as manufacturing.

"We also tracked down a ferry and a restaurant chain owned by members of the syndicate," he said.

He said the investigation was conducted under Section 130V of the Penal Code (for being members of an organised crime group) and the case was classified under the Security Offences (Special Measures) Act 2012 (Sosma) procedures.

"Investigations under Sosma are to enable the eradication of criminal activities related to syndicates as a whole.

"Investigations are also being conducted under the Anti-Money Laundering, Anti-Terrorist Financing and Proceeds of Unlawful Activities Act (AMLATFPUAA) 2001," he said.