Wednesday, November 22, 2006

4 from Saudi, Africa caught in Malaysia drugs haul(AFP)

4 from Saudi, Africa caught in Malaysia drugs haul

22 November 2006

KUALA LUMPUR - Four students from Africa and Saudi Arabia, including two women, could face the death penalty after being nabbed by Malaysian police with marijuana, officials said Wednesday.

“They were arrested in a special operation last weekend by our district police narcotics officers,” said Zahedi Ayob, district police chief of Sepang, south of the capital, Kuala Lumpur.

“We have evidence to charge them with drug trafficking, as they had a huge amount of drugs in their possession,” he told AFP.

The four students — two Kenyan women, one man from Eritrea and another man from Saudi Arabia — were arrested at their apartment in the town of Cyberjaya at the weekend.

Zahedi said the four, aged between 18 and 22, were students from a nearby higher learning institution, adding they were arrested after a tip-off.

They were being detained until Friday, when an investigation into their case would be concluded, and were then expected to be formally charged, he said.

Zahedi said narcotics officers found four slabs of marijuana and various small plastic packets of the drug during the arrests, adding the total weight of the drugs seized was about four kilograms (nine pounds) with an estimated street value of about 7,200 ringgit (1,982 dollars).

“We are investigating where they got their supply from, how they came into possession of such a large amount of drugs, and what it was intended for,” Zahedi said.

Malaysian laws set a mandatory death sentence for anyone caught with 200 grams or more of marijuana.

More than 100 people, a third of them foreigners, have been hanged for drug offences in Malaysia since the law was introduced in 1981, but the lucrative drug trade continues to lure traffickers.