KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysian authorities have seized more than two tons of crystal methamphetamine worth more than $26 million aboard a small boat off the country’s western coast, the largest ever such haul in the country’s history.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency said over the weekend that it made the seizure on Dec. 9 off the coast of Penang. The agency said in a statement that a maritime patrol found the drugs on a recreational boat that was behaving strangely.
Methamphetamine is illicitly smuggled across much of Southeast Asia, China and Australia, part of a multi-billion dollar illegal trade in the drug.
Authorities said the man operating the boat tried to flee when he saw the patrol boat and later jumped overboard as his vessel sped off. There was no one else aboard the 12.5-meter (41-foot) vessel. He was arrested and the boat was seized.
Officials found 2,118 kilograms (4,669 pounds) of methamphetamines aboard packed in Chinese tea packets.
The agency did not say where the drug was produced, but Malaysia borders a number of countries where it is produced.
The Golden Triangle, a remote jungle area where the borders of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand meet, was once a major source of the world’s opium and heroin. In recent years it has also become a major producer of methamphetamine.
The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime said earlier in the year that the cumulative value of the methamphetamine market in Asia is more $60 billion.