A total of 50 suspected drug offenders were arrested in an island-wide operation conducted by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) in four different phases from 16 to 30 November 2021. In this island-wide operation that was targeted at drug transactions conducted on encrypted chat applications, a total of about 55g of ‘Ice’, 395g of cannabis, 48g of ketamine, 44 ‘Ecstasy’ tablets, 14 LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) stamps, 25g of New Psychoactive Substances (NPS), 15 Erimin-5 tablets and three bottles of liquid suspected to contain GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) were seized. The drugs seized are estimated to be worth close to $20,400.
2. Some of the areas covered during this island-wide operation include Ang Mo Kio, Boon Lay, Hougang, Pasir Ris and Punggol.
18 November 2021: Arrests of two subjects in the vicinity of Punggol Way and Sengkang East Way
3. In the evening of 18 November 2021, during one of the phases of the island-wide operation, CNB officers intercepted a vehicle in the vicinity of Punggol Way, and arrested a 20-year-old Singaporean male. 21 packets containing a total of about 16g of ‘Ice’, 247g of cannabis, 9g of ketamine, 30 ‘Ecstasy’ tablets, six LSD (lysergic acid diethylamide) stamps and one Erimin-5 tablet were recovered from the 20-year-old male.
4. In a follow-up operation conducted in the same evening, a separate party of CNB officers arrested a 35-year-old Singaporean male in the vicinity of Sengkang East Way. A search was conducted, and a packet containing about 25g of cannabis was recovered from the 35-year-old male. The 35-year-old male was also escorted to a residential unit in the same vicinity, where drug paraphernalia were seized.
Photo 1 (CNB): Some of the polymailer packets, each containing different amounts of controlled drugs, recovered from a 20-year-old Singaporean male in the vicinity of Punggol Way in a CNB operation on 18 November 2021.
Photo 2 (CNB): One of the polymailer packets, containing cannabis, recovered from a 20-year-old Singaporean male in the vicinity of Punggol Way in a CNB operation on 18 November 2021.
Photos 3 and 4 (CNB): Phone conversations about a drug transaction between a drug client and his supplier through Telegram; uncovered in the island-wide CNB operation in November 2021 targeted at drug transactions conducted on encrypted chat applications.
5. CNB is aware that criminals, including drug trafficking syndicates, have been utilising encrypted chat applications such as Telegram for their illegal activities. CNB monitors such developments carefully, and has been taking regular enforcement actions against offenders who utilise such platforms for their drug activities.
6. Superintendent Aaron Tang, Director of Intelligence Division, said:
“Drug offenders have always been trying to evade enforcement efforts. Syndicates will use novel concealment methods to smuggle drugs into Singapore; traffickers will employ evasive tactics to avoid CNB’s surveillance efforts; abusers will leverage secured messaging applications to look for drugs. CNB monitors such developments and is on a constant lookout for emerging trends and platforms.
Given the popularity of messaging applications for daily communications, it is no surprise that drug syndicates and drug pushers are lulled into a false sense of security in using them for their drug activities. These offenders may think that such applications can offer them a certain level of anonymity to allow them to carry out their illegal activities, and they can avoid CNB’s surveillance. But they cannot be more wrong.
There have been reports recently on how criminals are using Telegram for their illegal activities. But this is not a new phenomenon. As early as 2019, CNB has been aware and has been taking regular enforcement actions against drug offenders who use the Telegram platform for their activities. In fact, more than 200 drug offenders who had conducted drug transactions on the Telegram platform have been arrested, and CNB has seized more than 14 kg of ‘Ice’, 7.6 kg of cannabis, 400g of heroin and an assortment of other drugs which had been transacted through Telegram.
We know their modus operandi, and will continue to be tenacious in following up on all such leads by carefully gathering intelligence and launching well-timed operations to take these offenders out.
Regardless of the platform or tactics used in an attempt to evade detection, there is no safe haven for drug offenders in Singapore.”
7. Investigations into the drug activities of all arrested suspects are ongoing.
CENTRAL NARCOTICS BUREAU
1 December 2021