KUALA LUMPUR, April 18 — Children, as young as seven, are being used by drug syndicates to run their distribution networks.
Students from primary and secondary schools and those pursuing tertiary education have become unknowing agents in the drug menace as syndicates and drug traffickers try to outsmart the authorities.
Federal Narcotics Crime Investigation Department director Commissioner Datuk Seri Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff said 331 students of various ages were nabbed for being involved in drug distribution this year alone.
This included one primary school student, 133 secondary school students while the rest were college and university students.
Mokhtar said the primary school student was arrested and placed in a juvenile school as he was a minor.
“We consider the student as a victim of crime and he had no idea what he was transporting. The boy didn’t know the contents of the package he was carrying,” he said.
Mokhtar said traffickers would use students to deliver parcels to avoid arousing the suspicion of the authorities.
“They would usually tell an unsuspecting student to deliver a package (filled with drugs) to an individual at a specific address. They get paid once the delivery is done.”
Mokhtar said these students, mostly from poor families, were manipulated by the traffickers to distribute drugs. Children and teenagers are considered cheap labour to drug syndicate members, he said.
“A trafficker approaches you and tells you the mobile phone that you have been dreaming of is within your grasp just by delivering a package. It would be difficult to reject such an opportunity,” Mokhtar said, adding this was how traffickers enticed kids.
Mokhtar, however, acknowledged that some of the secondary school students knew they were transporting drugs.
He said the type of drugs transported varied depending on the locations. Synthetic drugs such as syabu and Erimin pills were prevalent in urban areas whereas ganja and ketum were common in rural areas.
“Some of the elder students are also tasked to sell the drugs.”
Mokhtar said police were working closely with the National Anti-Drug Agency and the Education Ministry to eradicate the problem.
“The issue of drugs involving students is a primary concern and it is our top priority to combat the menace.”