Kuala Lumpur: Malaysian police said on Thursday they had dealt a major blow to a drugs syndicate operating across Asia after arresting nine Iranians and seizing more than 70 kilogrammes of methamphetamine.
Anti-narcotics chief Noor Rashid Ibrahim said the haul, which included seven million ringgit (USD 2.3 million) in foreign currency, was uncovered in Kuala Lumpur but refused to name the exact location or say when it was seized.
"Initial investigations show that these Iranians are part of a major syndicate and they smuggled in the drugs and have been selling them in Malaysia and shipping them overseas as well," he said.
"The seven million ringgit in cash is just from sales in the past month and the drugs seized could easily fetch another 17 million ringgit," he added.
Noor Rashid said the Iranians were believed to be supplying drugs to Japan, Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia, using Malaysia as a base.
Four women were part of the nine arrested, he said, adding that police were carrying out further operations based on the information from the group in a bid to destroy the syndicate`s operations in the country.
Iran`s ambassador in Kuala Lumpur has said international crime gangs are using Iranians to smuggle drugs into Malaysia.
Police in February arrested two Iranian women on the resort island of Penang, seizing 6.2 kilogrammes of methamphetamine, also known as "meth" or "crystal meth".
A suspected Iranian drug trafficker died in a Malaysian hospital a month earlier, after 137 capsules of methamphetamine broke open in his stomach.
There has been a steep increase in the number of Iranian suspected drug traffickers caught in Malaysia, with 138 arrested from January to October last year compared with 16 in the whole of 2009.