African students preferred as drug mules, cops say

By Emmanuel Santa Maria Chin
Bukit Aman Narcotics CID chief Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff (left) says Nigerian students ranked highest among foreign enrolments involved with drug syndicates. — Bernama pic

KUALA LUMPUR, June 20 — An international drug syndicate that hired foreign students to work as mules was dealt a blow when police arrested nine African men — eight Nigerians and one Ugandan — aged between 25 and 39 on Friday and seized a kilogramme of methamphetamine.

Five students were attending private institutions here while the four others were without proper documents.

Bukit Aman Narcotics Criminal Investigations Department director Comm Datuk Seri Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said three of the students were taking multimedia courses, while two were doing  Bahasa Malaysia courses.

“They are studying local courses to assimilate into society to try and function under the radar, but we will not allow this to happen," he said.

“I advise all colleges and universities to notify the police if there is any indication of students being involved in drugs.”

Mohd Mokhtar said police also believe the drug mules would have sold drugs to students at the colleges they attended.

Background checks of the suspects showed they had been here for at least three years.

Mohd Mohhtar said Nigerian students ranked highest among foreign enrolments involved with drug syndicates.

He said 33 Nigerian students were arrested in 2015, and the number ballooned to more than double last year. Up to June 16, 26 have been arrested.   

Mohd Mohktar said last week’s arrests came following four raids in Taman Danau in Setapak and along Jalan Pahang.

He said the drugs were packaged into four clear plastic bags stuffed into cake boxes and were worth around RM100,000.

Meanwhile, city police had over the weekend conducted raids, where a cache of drugs worth almost  RM600,000 was seized and 18 drug dealers arrested.

In one of the raids police arrested a 25-year-old man and a 15-year-old girl in a hotel in Pudu and seized 100 “Apache” Ice Cool Tea sachets.

The sachets, weighing around 2.9kg in total, contained a mixture that includes methamphetamine.

City police narcotics department deputy chief Supt Mohd Faisal Yahya said following the arrests, police were led to a house in Bukit Bintang where they arrested five men and two women, aged between 16 and 25, and seized another 10 tea sachets, one packet of methamphetamine powder, and three Eramin 5 pills. 

Mohd Faisal said during the raids police also arrest a 30-year-old man at a house in Setapak, and seized drugs worth RM60,500 and a live bullet.

They also seized five packets of methamphetamine, five packets of white powder believed to be drugs, 200 Eramin 5 pills, and 12 Ecstasy pills.

“With these arrests we believe a major methamphetamine distribution racket operating in the city has been crippled,” he said.