MMEA foils bid to smuggle 450 kg of ketum leaves in Perlis

MMEA foils bid to smuggle 450 kg of ketum leaves in Perlis

KUALA PERLIS: The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has again thwarted an attempt to smuggle out 450 kilograms of ketum leaves in Kuala Perlis waters.

Kuala Perlis Maritime Zone director Maritime Commander Mohd Shafie Paing said an MMEA team conducting the Ops Benteng spotted a boat heading towards the border of a neighbouring country from the Kuala Perlis estuary at about 3.45 pm yesterday.

“Upon realising the presence of the MMEA enforcement boat, the suspects threw packages believed to contain ketum leaves into the sea before fleeing to the neighbouring country.

“After inspecting the area where the packages were dumped, the MMEA team found 45 black plastic packets containing what is suspected to be 450 kg of ketum leaves, worth an estimated RM9,000,” he said in a statement today.

He said the confiscated items were brought to the Kuala Perlis Maritime Zone for investigation under Section 30 (3) of the Poisons Act 1952 for abuse of ketum leaves including importing, selling, processing and other related offences.

Mohd Shafie said this was the third confiscation of ketum leaves this week, with a total seizure value of almost RM50,000.

“We believe this is an organised crime, and we will track down the mastermind of this syndicate and ensure that the smuggling of ketum leaves can be stopped in the near future,” he said.

Yesterday, Bernama reported that the Kuala Perlis MMEA thwarted an attempt to smuggle 36 packets of ketum leaves weighing 360 kg, estimated to be worth RM3,600, to a neighbouring country, in the waters of Kuala Perlis on Saturday.