JOHOR BAHARU, Aug 6 (Bernama) — Malaysia’s first-ever ketamine processing laboratory which was uncovered by the police in Ulu Tiram last Wednesday, saw the seizure of 269.24kg of the drug which could feed the habit of about 900,000 addicts.
The drug, it is learnt, was in great demand at entertainment outlets, among others, and its seizure by Bukit Aman’s Special Tactical Intelligence Narcotics Group (STING) meant plugging the ketamine pipeline to a ready addict population.
According to Bukit Aman Narcotics CID Director Datuk Seri Mohd Mokhtar Mohd Shariff, ketamine was in high demand, especially at entertainment outlets where a gramme was sold at between RM100 and RM150.
Of the total seizure, about 264.74kg of the drug was in liquid form – seized from the ketamine processing laboratory while the rest in crystal powder was seized from a car in Skudai, he told a press conference at the Johor police contingent headquarters here Saturday.
Recent media reports stated the police seized the ketamine and detained 23 members of a drug-processing syndicate, believed to be linked to the notorious ‘Gang 36’, after raiding a few houses in Skudai here from 4.10am to 9.15am last Wednesday.
Mohd Mokhtar said four of the suspects were locals aged between 23 and 41, while the rest were Indian nationals aged between 23 and 53.
“One of the foreigners is a chemist, believed to have been brought in by the syndicate to assist them in processing the drug.
“Based on preliminary investigations, all the Indian nationals possessed valid passports, with some having valid permits to work at local plantations,” he said, adding that one of the local suspects had been detained previously under the Dangerous Drugs Act (Special Preventive Measures)1985.
The 23 suspects have been remanded for between seven and 14 days to facilitate investigations under Section 39B of the Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 and Immigration Act 1959/63.
The police also seized four vehicles, namely Toyota Wish, Honda Accord, Mitsubishi Triton and Toyota Hilux; two gold chains and three pendants.
Mohd Mokhtar attributed the success in uncovering the country’s first ketamine processing laboratory to cooperation between the Malaysian Narcotics CID, STING and the United States Drug Enforcement Agency.
He said the police were also in the midst of tracking down 200 wanted individuals related to drugs and would distribute their photofits to the public to facilitate investigations.