MERSING: Police uncovered a smuggling syndicate with the arrest of three suspects and the seizure of illicit cigarettes worth RM 7.6 million.
State Police Chief Comm Datuk Ayob Khan Mydin Pitchay said that following reports of smuggling activities, a team of police, including from Maritime Police Region II, conducted an operation on a jetty at Endau here between 6.30 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Friday.
“During the raid, police arrested three male suspects between the ages of 27 and 51. One of them has a criminal record.
“We also seized two trucks, a boat, two radar units and a GPS device,” he said yesterday at a press conference at the maritime police headquarters.
Comm Ayob said the total foreclosure was worth RM 9.3 million.
One of the suspects owns the boat which has been modified to smuggle contraband items.
“The suspect was taking tourists to dive sites in Mersing waters, but due to lack of tourists due to the movement control order, he has been smuggling illicit cigarettes for over a year now .
“Their modus operandi is to wait for a large ship in the waters of Johor where they will transfer the contraband cigarettes to the smaller boat to bring them to the mainland,” he said.
Once the boat arrived, the suspects used the trucks which had also been modified to hide the contraband.
The suspects would then drive the trucks
at several locations in Johor and Pahang, as well as along the east coast.
“We have reason to believe that the three suspects belong to a larger smuggling union,” Comm Ayob said.
The case is under investigation under Section 135 (1) (D) of the Customs Act 1967.