KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Malaysian narcotics agents have foiled a Nigerian syndicate’s bid to smuggle cocaine worth $7.1 million hidden in coconut milk cans, a top police official said Tuesday.
“International drug syndicates especially those led by Nigerian nationals have been found to be active in smuggling various types of drugs,” Noor Rashid Ibrahim, narcotics criminal investigation director said in a statement.
Acting on a tip-off from the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, authorities found the drugs in a container at the country’s top port, Port Klang, he said. It had arrived on a ship from Guyana last Monday.
Noor Rashid said the liquid drugs seized could produce about 76 kilogrammes (168 pounds) of cocaine when processed.
“Their modus operandi has become more sophisticated, hiding drugs by dissolving it in liquid form to avoid detection,” he said.
The seized container was filled with 980 cartons of cans containing coconut milk and pineapple cubes, he said.
Noor Rashid said upon investigation by the chemistry department, 16 cartons comprising 384 cans of coconut milk were found to be filled with drugs to avoid detection.
In Malaysia, the death penalty is mandatory for convicted drug traffickers.