( dpa ) - Malaysian police busted an international drug trafficking syndicate believed to be paying local college students to courier heroin overseas and arrested five suspects, news reports said Saturday.
The suspects, four West African men and a Malaysian woman, were detained Tuesday in a raid at an apartment in the capital Kuala Lumpur.
Police also seized 3.1 kilogrammes of heroin and 126 sachets of drugs worth 1.7 million ringgit (500,000 dollars), the Star daily reported.
Believed to have been in operation for more than a year, investigations revealed that the syndicate members approached local students either in their colleges or via the Internet with offers between 16,000 to 35,000 ringgit (4,705 to 10,294 dollars) for a single job to courier drugs overseas.
Duped with promises of high paying jobs and expensive overseas holidays, the students smuggled drugs by either swallowing or hiding the drug packets up their anus in order to escape inspection.
"Our investigations revealed that the West Africans entered the country after obtaining student visas to pursue studies at colleges and universities," said Zul Hasnan Najib Baharuddin, department director of the narcotics division at the national police headquarters.
Warning students to be wary of strangers with lucrative offers for such jobs, Zul Hasnah also said he believed the arrest of three Malaysian students overseas last year for drug trafficking, who were among a total of 32 women arrested to date, could be linked to the syndicate.
The suspects have been held in remand and will be charged with drug trafficking, which carries a mandatory death sentence by hanging.