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Smugglers fill demand for ‘Ice’, more than 700 meth users nabbed

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38 kilogrammes of the synthetic drug was seized last year, nearly three times what was confiscated in 2011

Singapore law enforcement agencies seized a record haul of crystal methamphetamine, the synthetic drug better known by its street name, “Ice”.

Figures compiled by The Sunday Times show that at least 38kg was seized by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) and the Immigration and Checkpoints Authority last year, sharply up from slightly over 14kg in 2011.

Anti-drug operations have kept up with rising demand since 2009.

What is worrying, however, is the trend of traffickers bringing in larger quantities.

Last year, at least 10 were nabbed with 2kg or more.

On Dec 26, a Thai woman was caught at Changi Airport with 3.2kg of “Ice” in her backpack. Last September, an Indonesian man and a Vietnamese woman were arrested at different immigration checkpoints with 5.5kg and 5.7kg of “Ice” respectively.

Such amounts are unusual, as it was only in 2011 that the CNB described a 1kg haul of “Ice” from a car at Woodlands Checkpoint as “the largest single seizure” of the drug.

Anyone caught with more than 250g of methamphetamine faces the death penalty, but no “Ice” trafficker has been hanged here yet.

Demand for “Ice” has risen in recent years and it is now the drug of choice for new abusers, with about 62% of first-time abusers arrested in 2011 found taking it.

That worked out to more than 700 new methamphetamine users caught that year, up 30% from the 531 nabbed in 2010.  — The Straits Times / Asia News Network