Sarawak Customs thwarts two attempts to smuggle 37kg of cannabis through KIA

Herman Shah (front row, centre) with Customs senior assistant director I, Kaddy Jukin (front row, left) and senior assistant director II, Kanidi Neng showing the confiscated items at the press conference at Wisma Kastam Sarawak in Petra Jaya.

KUCHING, May 3: The Royal Malaysian Customs Department (Customs) Sarawak foiled two attempts to smuggle cannabis weighing 36.956 kg at Kuching International Airport (KIA) here within a single week.

Sarawak Customs director Herman Shah Abdullah said this is the first two such cases of cannabis smuggling recorded this year, bringing the total of drug cases thwarted by the department to six so far. The other four cases involved methamphetamine.

The drugs seized are estimated to worth about RM92,390 and were believed to be brought in from the peninsula via Kuala Lumpur to be distributed to the local market.

“The first case involves a local woman working as an insurance agent aged 27 who had arrived at KIA after returning from Kuala Lumpur on April 28 where she was stopped by a Customs officer who scanned her two luggage bags.

“Further inspection on the luggage led to the discovery of 18 packages wrapped using gift wrapping paper and carbon paper containing compressed plant leaves suspected to be cannabis-type drugs estimated to weigh 18.264 kg with an estimated value of RM45,660,” he told a press conference held at Wisma Kastam Sarawak in Petra Jaya here today.

Herman Shah revealed that the packages were wrapped in four layers comprising transparent plastic, carbon paper, transparent plastic and gold-colored paper, believed done so to confuse the authorities.

The woman, he said, had gone to Kuala Lumpur a week earlier and claimed to have been asked by a friend to bring the packages to Kuching with the guarantee of being given a job in a company in Serian district.

“The woman has been remanded for seven days beginning April 29 and will be investigated under Section 39B(1)(a) of Dangerous Drugs Act 1952, where upon conviction, the woman can face the death penalty,” he added.

Part of the seized drugs.

Meanwhile, the second case involved an unclaimed passenger’s luggage which had arrived from Kuala Lumpur on April 2, and was scanned by the Customs officer around 1.45pm on May 1.

“The scan results of the luggage showed a suspicious image and a thorough inspection led to the discovery of 19 packages in transparent wrapping containing compressed plant leaves suspected to be cannabis-type drugs.

“The items are estimated to weigh 18.692 kg with an estimated market value of RM46,730,” he disclosed.

Herman Shah added it is believed that the luggage was deliberately left and not claimed by any individual after those responsible observed the strict control and inspection carried out by Customs at KIA.

“The case is still under investigation and we are tracing the owner of the luggage based on airline records,” he pointed out.

The luggage would be confiscated for further action under Section 39B(1)(a) of the same Act.

He also said the Customs Department is currently conducting a special operation named ‘Ops Mekong Dragon 3’ which targets dangerous drug commodities and other prohibited goods.

This ops is jointly organised together with the Regional Intelligence Liaison Office Asia Pacific (RILO-AP) of the World Customs Organisation (WCO). — DayakDaily