Malaysian customs authorities seized 1.3 tons of crystal meth hidden in tea packets last week in what was reportedly the country’s largest meth bust in terms of value and weight. The stash, which had an estimated value of US$18 million, arrived in Kuala Lumpur in a container that had been shipped from Yangon.
Six people – three Malaysian and three Myanmar – were arrested after the meth was discovered on May 22 in Port Klang, on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital. The suspects could face the death penalty if found guilty of drug trafficking.
“We believe the drugs were for the local market and it is the work of a local criminal syndicate working with a Myanmar criminal gang,” Malaysian customs chief Subromaniam Tholasy told reporters when the bust was announced yesterday.
In addition to the meth, Malaysian officials said there were also 750 grams of heroin and around a million cigarettes in the drug stash.
The massive haul has been linked to a recent boom in synthetic drug production in the Golden Triangle – an ungovernable plateau where the borders of Myanmar, Laos, Thailand, and China meet.
In recent years, Myanmar has become a major supplier of crystal meth and related drugs, such as speed, yaba, and shabu, as producers capitalize on ethnic conflict and lawlessness in the highlands to avoid discovery.