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Thursday, Aug 22, 2019

4 Indians arrested in Kuala Lumpur with drugs, baby turtles

The Malaysian Customs Department seized 5,255 baby turtles from two suspects on transit to India, The Star newspaper reported.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2019 08:42 IST
Agencies
Agencies
Singapore/Sepang
A member of the Royal Malaysian Customs holds seized red-eared slider tortoises during a press conference at the customs authorities building in Sepang on June 26, 2019 after a foiled smuggling attempt by a syndicate. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP)
A member of the Royal Malaysian Customs holds seized red-eared slider tortoises during a press conference at the customs authorities building in Sepang on June 26, 2019 after a foiled smuggling attempt by a syndicate. (Photo by Mohd RASFAN / AFP)
         

Four Indians were arrested in Malaysia after officials at the Kuala Lumpur airport seized over 5,000 turtles and confiscated more than 14 kilogrammes of drugs in separate cases, according to a media report.

The Malaysian Customs Department seized 5,255 baby turtles from two suspects on transit to India, The Star newspaper reported.

In a press conference, customs assistant director-general, Datuk Zulkurnain Mohamed Yusuf said the turtles seizure was made on June 20 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport 2, from two Indian nationals.

“The two men had just arrived from Guangzhou, China. The checks conducted on their luggage led to the discovery of the red-eared slider turtles. They were kept in baskets placed in their suitcases,” he said. Not all survived the trip, as the suitcases had no special tools or food to keep the turtles alive, he said.

Red-eared sliders are among the most commonly traded turtles meant for the pet and meat markets. Permits are required as they are susceptible to carrying salmonella and pose health concerns.

The department estimated the total worth of the seizure to be around $12,700. The turtles, he added, would be handed over to the Wildlife and National Parks Department.

In another case, Zulkarnain said officials also found 14.34 kg of methamphetamine worth $174,000, hidden in special compartments in boxes that were hand-carried by two Indian men, one of whom flew in from Hyderabad on June 19 and another on June 20 from Bengaluru. The men, both 30 and believed to be drug mules, are expected to be charged and face the death penalty if convicted. “The first was arrested on June 19, after he arrived from Hyderabad, India. Scans of a box showed a suspicious image within. Further checks led to the discovery of a packet holding around 6.6kg of what we believe to be methamphetamine,” he said.

The second was arrested on June 20. A man who had just arrived from Bengaluru, had his begs scanned. Again, suspicious images from the scans led to a more thorough search. “We found 15 small packages hidden in three boxes that had been modified. In total, around 7.74kg of the same type of drugs were found,” he said. The two suspects are not thought to have any other links with each other, aside from the similar modus operandi.

First Published: Jun 27, 2019 00:15 IST

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