Record haul of cannabis and heroin seized in CNB raid
Malaysian suspect, 22, arrested as officers confiscate over 40kg of drugs with a street value of $2.3 million
In the largest drug bust in years, the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) has prevented record amounts of cannabis and heroin from flooding the streets.
The 23.6kg of cannabis seized is the biggest in 25 years while the 16.5kg of heroin is the most in 20 years.
The CNB operation last Friday also netted 2kg of Ice and some 110 Ecstasy tablets.
The drugs, estimated to be worth more than $2.3 million on the streets, would have fed the addiction of more than 12,400 abusers for a week.
The previous record seizures were 33.4kg of cannabis in 1996 and 34.8kg of heroin in 2001.
During a press conference yesterday, the CNB said a 22-year-old Malaysian man was arrested for suspected drug trafficking offences at the first level of a Housing Board block in Choa Chu Kang Avenue 4.
He was found with four bundles containing about 3.9kg of cannabis and taken back to his flat where CNB officers seized eight bundles of heroin, two bundles of Ice and the Ecstasy tablets in his bedroom.
Another 27 bundles of heroin and 20 bundles of cannabis were found in a duffel bag and a backpack in the storeroom.
Superintendent Aaron Tang, director of CNB's intelligence division, said the amount of drugs seized is sufficient to feed 7,880 heroin abusers, 1,160 Ice abusers and 3,380 cannabis abusers for a week.
Investigations into the suspect's drug activities are ongoing.
Assistant Commissioner Sng Chern Hong, deputy director of CNB (policy and administration), told reporters the "drug situation is worsening" across the globe and in the region.
"It is concerning, regardless of the quantity of drugs seized. So in Singapore, we are monitoring the situation very closely," he said.
Noting that drug trafficking syndicates have changed their modus operandi to adapt to the Covid-19 pandemic, AC Sng said: "We have seen seizures or smuggling through fruits. They are even using drones, and we have syndicates trying to find ways to beat the system.
"But regardless of how they change, we work closely with our counterparts, whether it's stepping up on checks or stepping up on intelligence."
Asked about the demand for illegal drugs in Singapore, AC Sng said there has been no substantial change.
"If you look at the drug stats we released earlier this year, in terms of drug abusers arrested, there is a drop compared with last year, but that is also partly because of Covid-19.
"In terms of the trend, we don't see a substantial change compared with last year.
"While the numbers have dropped, we are looking at... the number of young abusers - it is still about 40 per cent of the total number of drug abusers arrested. We don't see any major change, but we will monitor the situation."
Stressing why Singapore must remain vigilant, Supt Tang said: "We are surrounded by large drug supply regions, and there is (always) a threat of drugs coming into Singapore and flooding our streets."
While the drug trafficking syndicates have turned to "many novel methods... to overcome the new norms that Covid-19 has brought about", he said CNB will remain nimble to address such evolving challenges and tactics.
"Drug syndicates will continue to take their chances to smuggle drugs into Singapore, in order to profit from the addiction and misery of drug abusers.
"The targeted operation on the suspected drug trafficker has prevented a large amount of drugs from being circulated in Singapore, which would have resulted in devastating consequences for our society," said Supt Tang.
"We will continue to monitor the drug activities closely and take prompt enforcement actions to neutralise the drug syndicates."
Mr Freddy Wee, 67, deputy director of drug rehabilitation halfway house Breakthrough Missions, was concerned that such a large amount of drugs had entered Singapore.
The former drug addict said: "When there is demand, there will be supply.
"These days, drug traffickers use unique channels to distribute their goods."
Noting the need for vigilance and preventive education, Mr Wee added: "CNB is always on the ball and doing a really good job.
"If (these drugs) had not been discovered, they would have hit the streets and who knows how many more would fallen into their trap?"