SINGAPORE: A cleaner who worked at Heartbeat@Bedok community centre came to know about a drug trafficking “opportunity” from his supervisor.
The pair began collecting an assortment of drugs and stashing them in their cleaners’ storeroom as it was a secure location for them.
Their crimes unravelled when the authorities arrested a man who was to pass heroin and methamphetamine to the pair.
Officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau replaced the drugs with mock drugs before arranging for their collection, nabbing the cleaner and his supervisor when they came to pick the illicit substances up.
The cleaner, 25-year-old Malaysian Devendran Shanugam, was sentenced to 10 years’ jail and 10 strokes of the cane on Monday (Nov 20).
He pleaded guilty to two charges of attempted possession of drugs with common intention for the purpose of trafficking.
The court heard that Devendran got to know his accomplice, 29-year-old Malaysian Tiben Raj Anbalagan, when they worked together in a cleaning company.
Devendran was transferred to work under Tiben Raj at Heartbeat@Bedok in August 2021 and they became close.
Tiben Raj owed money to an unidentified person he called “Boss”, and in order to earn the cash to repay Boss, Tiben Ray agreed to traffic drugs for him – diamorphine, cannabis and methamphetamine.
When Devendran came to know about this, he told Tiben Raj that he had previously delivered drugs and offered to do the deliveries for payment.
Under the arrangement, Tiben Raj would liaise with Boss on the location and timing for drug collection, and Devendran would personally pick the drugs up.
Around Jan 23 last year, Tiben Raj rented a motorcycle so he could ferry Devendran for deliveries or allow Devendran to ride the motorcycle to “work swiftly”, the court heard.
Devendran knew the drugs he was collecting and delivering were illegal. He would identify the type of drug from the packaging – cannabis would be shaped like a book, while diamorphine would be wrapped in a black bundle.
From January to mid-February 2022, the pair received instructions from Boss to collect bundles of drugs from lorries. Initially, Devendran would deliver the entire shipment to another location.
From mid-February 2022 onwards, the pair collected bundles of drugs and stored them in the cleaners’ storeroom at Heartbeat@Bedok, as it was a secure location accessed by them.
They would verify the weight and type of drugs based on details provided to Tiben Raj by Boss, as they had to compensate Boss for any shortfall. They were paid according to the weight of the drugs collected.
From mid-February 2022 to the time of their arrest, they offered “personal delivery” services by splitting the larger bundles of drugs into smaller ones for Devendran to deliver.
He would also deposit the smaller bundles in the rear seats or bonnets of unattended cars. On one occasion, he cut up a block of cannabis into two smaller ones according to a customer’s request.
In total, Devendran collected and delivered drugs including diamorphine, meth and cannabis, or mixtures of these drugs, on 16 occasions between January and May 2022.
In particular, he collected 25 bundles of diamorphine on three occasions and 1kg in gross weight of cannabis on one occasion.
He was paid S$500 to S$2,000 for each delivery.
On the night of May 18, 2022, authorities arrested a 29-year-old Malaysian man named Muhammad Amsyar Solihin Adnan at Woodlands Checkpoint.
Four bags found in his car contained 38 bundles of heroin weighing about 17.4kg and two packets of meth weighing about 250g.
Amsyar was supposed to contact an unidentified person called “Marku Kari” after entering Singapore, to get the delivery location.
CNB officers replaced the drugs with around 16.2kg of mock drugs in several bags.
Arrangement was made with Marku Kari for the collection of the mock drugs, and the bags were placed beside a big green dustbin and potted plants at Block 217, Bedok North Street 1.
Meanwhile, Tiben Raj had been informed by Boss that a shipment of drugs would reach Singapore by midnight.
Boss told Tiben Raj to collect the drugs at the address in Bedok, and Tiben Raj waited nearby with Devendran.
At around 1.30am on May 19, 2022, Devendran picked up the mock drugs and walked towards the front of the block to meet Tiben Raj.
He was then arrested by CNB. Tiben Raj rode away on his motorcycle, but was later arrested.
The two men had intended to collect the drugs so they could split them up and deliver smaller consignments to other buyers.
Amsyar faces drug charges and his case is pending in the High Court. Tiben Raj’s case is also pending.