GEORGE TOWN (Jan 23): Police smashed a syndicate distributing and selling smuggled cigarettes, with the seizure of 1.42 million sticks of cigarettes worth over RM1 million in a series of raids around here in a special operation on Friday.
The operation was carried out by Bukit Aman Department of Internal Security and Public Order (JKDNKA) in cooperation with the state police contingent headquarters.
Bukit Aman JKDNKA director Datuk Seri Abdul Rahim Jaafar said in a series of raids at five locations, police also detained three local men, aged between 31 and 40, believed to have links with the syndicate.
“During the sweeps, police seized 142 boxes containing 7,100 cartons of smuggled cigarettes hidden inside eight vehicles including a lorry, at the raid locations.
“The raids were conducted in residential areas, including luxury condominiums and parking lots. Initial investigation revealed that more than RM1 million smuggled cigarettes were meant for the northern region market, including Penang," he said when contacted by Bernama here today.
Abdul Rahim said police did not rule out the possibility that the smuggled cigarettes were brought in from several countries. However, the investigation is still ongoing.
Following the arrest of the trio, he said police also seized cash amounting to RM983,093.98, believed to be proceeds from the sales of the smuggled cigarettes.
Police are looking for other syndicate members, believed to be still in the state, he added.
“We have also seized eight vehicles, comprising of four Toyota Avanza vehicles, two Vanette cars, a Hiace van and a lorry, all worth RM214,000, he said.
Abdul Rahim said the three men have been remanded for further investigation and the total seizure amounted to RM2.3 million, which included the cigarettes with duty, cash and vehicles.
The case is being investigated under Section 135 (1)(d) of the Customs Act 1967.