The Sabah Customs Department detained a man with 5.8 kilogrammes of ketamine worth RM104,000 hidden in his luggage upon his arrival at Terminal Two of the Kota Kinabalu International Airport (KKIA) at 5pm yesterday.
This was the first major drug seizure by the department this year.
Its deputy director (Enforcement Division) Hamzah Sundang told a news conference that the 26-year-old suspect from Negeri Sembilan, was believed to be involved in an international drug trafficking syndicate.
“The case will be investigated under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 for trafficking in a dangerous drug. If found guilty, the penalty is death by hanging.
“The suspect is under remand from today,” he said.
The drug seizure was the result of monitoring and risk evaluation of passengers who had just arrived from Shenzhen, China on an AirAsia flight.
The Customs’ passenger inspection unit detained the man after his luggage had been scanned by a scanning machine at the arrival hall of the airport.
“On checking the luggage, eight plastic packets were found in a secret compartment. A test of the content using a drug test kit showed it was positive for ketamine.
“The suspect claimed to be a businessman and his passport revealed that he left Malaysia via Kuala Lumpur to China on July 17 before returning home through Kota Kinabalu on July 31,” Hamzah said, adding that the man’s passport
showed this was the first time he had left Malaysia.
To a question, he said Customs could not be certain if the drug was for distribution in Sabah because the suspect only had a ticket to Kota Kinabalu and his next destination was not known.
“Efforts are made to create awareness that drugs are a problem in the country, while KKIA is an entry point for passengers from foreign countries with many direct flights from China, the Philippines and Jakarta, Indonesia.
“We hope the discovery yesterday will be a lesson to all drug traffickers or international syndicates,” said Hamzah, adding that the Customs Department appealed for passengers’ cooperation to stamp out drug trafficking.