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Lifting the Lid: The Drug-busters (Part 3)

From intelligence-gathering and investigations to enforcement – meet the dedicated officers behind Singapore’s anti-drug efforts.
When it comes to the cat-and-mouse game of combating the threat posed by drugs, officers from the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) must be determined, astute and swift. In 2020 and 2021, officers successfully conducted a number of major busts and smashed syndicates that have employed new ways to traffick drugs. In this third of a three-part series, we look at the role of investigations in fighting drugs.

Home Team News CNB Drug-busters 03A
PHOTO: Rytasha Passion Raj

Inspector (INSP) Vinod S/O Pannerchilvam of CNB's Investigation Division is committed to working out the facts for every drug case that's assigned to him. “It’s about searching for the truth and weighing every piece of evidence carefully, in order to build a strong case,” he explained. 

A Life-changing Experience
INSP Vinod joined CNB in 2017. He shared that he was previously assigned overseas for a multinational company, and his experiences then made him reconsider how he could better contribute to society. 

“I’d come across drugs being sold openly, or abusers lying about on the streets while I was working overseas,” he recalled. “I decided to join CNB as I wanted to make a positive impact by keeping drugs out of our community.”

Uncovering the Truth
“My primary role as an Investigation Officer (IO) is to ensure fair and just investigations into accused persons and suspected drug activities,” he said. “More importantly, IOs must seek to find the truth from accused persons for every case.”

The investigative routine keeps the team busy. “We are rostered on different days to take on new cases. On days when I am assigned and first in line to take on a new case, I’ll just pray and hope the case will go smoothly!” he quipped.

Jokes aside, there's more to be done on other days too. “That’s when we conduct follow-up investigations, take witness statements and complete administrative duties,” he shared. 

Working Tirelessly to Crack Each Case
One of the hallmarks of investigative work is attention to detail. “We spend a great deal of time on every case to find leads, secure evidence, uncover the truth and document our case,” explained INSP Vinod. 

Home Team News CNB Drug-busters 03B

INSP Vinod was a member of the investigative team in the seizure over 40kg of illicit drugs in March 2021. “This was the biggest drug seizure that I’d been involved in, and it was particularly challenging,” he recalled. “After my colleagues arrested the suspected drug offenders, we continued to work on the case for more than 30 hours, and completed processing the drug seizures only at 4am on a Sunday. It was draining, but we gave our best.”

What motivates the team is a shared sense of mission. “I have like-minded colleagues and we all have each other’s backs,” said INSP Vinod. “Each and every day I come to work, my goal is to serve the community and keep Singapore drug-free.”

Read Lifting the Lid: The Drug-busters (Part 1)
Read Lifting the Lid: The Drug-busters (Part 2)

CNB Workplan Seminar 2021
The Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB) held its annual Workplan Seminar on 1 June 2021. In his keynote speech at the Seminar, Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim, Minister of State, Ministry of Home Affairs and Ministry of National Development, thanked officers for keeping Singapore drug-free and announced that there will be a series of events lined up to commemorate CNB’s 50th anniversary this year. 

CNB kept up a high operational tempo in 2020, making significant drug seizures and dismantling 24 drug syndicates. In his message to officers at the Seminar, Mr Ng Ser Song, Director CNB, said that drug syndicates would continue to seek inroads into the local drug market, increase their activities and expand their influence, and called upon CNB officers to remain vigilant in their fight against drugs.

Read the keynote speech by Associate Professor Muhammad Faishal Ibrahim.

Written by

Rytasha Passion Raj


18 June 2021

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