Indians in Malay drug smuggling ring

Police smashed an international drug ring with the detention of nine men, including two Indians.

india Updated: Jun 10, 2006 12:48 IST

Malaysian police reportedly smashed an international drug ring with the detention of nine men, including two Indians, and the seizure of an estimated 5 million ringgits ($1.33 million) worth of the party drug ketamine hydrochloride, reports said on Saturday.

Investigations revealed that more than 71.3 kg of the drug, which is also known as Special K, have been brought into the country from India on at least 20 occasions this year alone, the official Bernama agency said.

Police detained three suspects, including the two Indian men, during a raid on Thursday and were later led to arrest six other locals believed to be distributing the drug to night clubs in the capital city.

Authorities believe the two Indian nationals, in their 30s, were the masterminds behind the syndicate and were responsible for packing the ketamine drugs in detergent, flour and coffee bags.

"We are investigating how they managed to evade detection by airport security," said state Narcotics Department director Najib Abdul Aziz.

Airport security officers have also been called up for questioning, he informed.

Apart from local distribution, the syndicate is believed to be using Malaysia as a transit point to smuggle the drug to neighbouring Asian countries like China, Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan, said Najib.

Ketamine is a powerful hallucinogen widely used as an animal tranquilliser by veterinarians. Users of the drug experience profound hallucinations that include visual distortions and a lost sense of time, sense and identity, lasting for up to two hours.

The last major seizure of ketamine by Malaysian polices was in August 2005. In that bust, 156 kg of ketamine worth more than 10 million ringgit ($2.67 million) was seized and six Indian nationals were detained.

Despite the country's tough drug laws, which prescribe the mandatory death sentence for drug trafficking, smuggling is a major problem and drug abuse is on a steady rise.

First Published: Jun 10, 2006 12:48 IST