Crime & Courts

RM650,000 worth of smuggled tobacco leaves seized in Perak

KOTA BARU: The National Kenaf and Tobacco Board (NKTB) seized 21 tonnes of smuggled dried tobacco leaves worth about RM650,000, its biggest seizure made in three years.

Plantation and Commodities Ministry deputy secretary-general Datuk Zailani Hashim said the seizure of the Virginia type of tobacco leaves was made in Pengkalan Lahat near Ipoh, Perak.

No one was arrested in the Jan 3 operation.

He said the operation was jointly organised between the NKTB, Customs Department, police and General Operations Force.

"The teams raided the place following a three-week observation and after raiding the premises, they discovered the dried tobacco leaves, which are believed to be smuggled from a neighbouring country.

"The leaves were believed to be distributed to manufacturers throughout the country.

"The teams took statements from the owner of the premises who is in his 40s," Zailani told a press conference at the state NKTB office today.

Zailani said he believed the Virginia type of dried tobacco leaves, which has a market price of RM30 per kg, received some demand from local manufacturers due to its high quality.

"We suspect that the premises was used as a transit point for smugglers before they sent the tobacco leaves to other destinations using various modes of transportation.

"We also believe the tobacco leaves have been stored there for a long time."

Zailani said the latest seizure was the biggest made by NKTB since it seized dried tobacco leaves worth RM291,000 in 2023 and RM111,000 worth of dried tobacco leaves that were seized in 2022.

He said the seizure was made under Section 51 (1) and Section 51 (2) of the NKTB Act 2009 (Act 692).

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