Singapore makes major heroin bust at Malaysia border

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SINGAPORE, May 20 (Reuters) - Singapore's anti-narcotics agency on Friday announced the seizure of nearly 18 kg (634 oz) of heroin in a car arriving from neighbouring Malaysia, in what local media said was the biggest haul of its kind in the city-state in two decades.

Singapore has some of the world's toughest penalties for drug trafficking, including execution by hanging.

The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) arrested three Malaysian men aged between 23 and 28 following Wednesday's search of the vehicle, which uncovered 17.7 kg of heroin, 261 grammes of crystal methamphetamine and two grammes of ecstasy pills.

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The driver was detained at the scene and the other two men - believed by officers to be the intended recipients - were arrested the following day.

The wealthy city-state has a zero-tolerance policy for drugs and imposes long jail terms, or the death penalty.

The trafficking of more than 15 grammes of pure heroin or 250 grammes of methamphetamine can result in the death penalty in Singapore, where human rights groups say hundreds of people, have been hanged for drugs offences over past decades, including many foreigners.

The narcotics agency estimated the value of the drugs seized to be about S$1.3 million ($943,000).

($1 = 1.3785 Singapore dollars)

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Reporting by Chen Lin; Editing by Martin Petty

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