Malaysian maritime agency foils drug smuggling attempt in Kota Tinggi waters

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Johor Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) deputy director (operations) Maritime Captain Simon Templer Lo Ak Tusa said the illicit drugs were believed to be destined for a neighbouring country, September 17, 2021 — Picture courtesy of Johor MMEA
Johor Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) deputy director (operations) Maritime Captain Simon Templer Lo Ak Tusa said the illicit drugs were believed to be destined for a neighbouring country, September 17, 2021 — Picture courtesy of Johor MMEA

KOTA TINGGI, Sept 17 — The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) thwarted a recent attempt to smuggle out six kilogrammes of crystal methamphetamine (syabu) worth RM330,000 during an operation in the waters of Tanjung Setapa near here.

Johor MMEA deputy director (operations) Maritime Captain Simon Templer Lo Ak Tusa believes the smugglers used the sea route in an attempt to export the illicit drugs to a neighbouring country last Wednesday.

He said the MMEA team detected two fibreglass boats showing suspicious activity about 1.6 nautical miles south of Tanjung Setapa at about 7.30pm that day.

“Suspecting something amiss, the operations team dispatched a patrol boat and headed towards the fibreglass boat’s location for inspection,” he said.

Simon Templer said after seeing the approaching MMEA patrol boats, the sailors abandoned one boat and fled in the other towards the Malaysia-Indonesia sea border.

“The operations team tried to intercept the suspect’s boat until it reached the traffic separation scheme zone, but they managed to escape by crossing the border into Indonesian waters,” he told a news conference at the Tanjung Sedili maritime zone office here today.

A traffic separation scheme or TSS is created to regulate the flow of traffic of vessels in congested waters.

Simon Templar explained that the distance between the Malaysia-Indonesia maritime border with the location of the incident was about 1.5 nautical miles apart.

He said checks at the location of the abandoned boat, found six packets of white powder, suspected to be syabu, with an estimated weight of six kilogrammes and was valued at about RM330,000.

“The syabu was loaded in green barrels that can supply about 38,400 addicts.

“The total value of the seizure is estimated to be at RM350,000, including the unregistered fiberglass boat and its 40 horsepower Yamaha outboard engine,” said Simon Templar.

The case is being investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952.

Simon Templar said based on the suspect’s modus operandi, they usually disguised themselves as traditional fishermen using small boats as transportation.

He added that such drug trafficking activities were active in Johor’s waters.

“Further investigations are still underway to track down the alleged mastermind or group involved.

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