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Three nabbed with heroin at Taoyuan Airport

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Three nabbed with heroin at Taoyuan Airport

A Swedish woman and two French nationals were arrested at Taoyuan International Airport Wednesday, charged with attempting to smuggle in about 5 kilograms of heroin with a market value of around NT$100 million. The arrests came only one day after another foreign woman was caught trying to bring a smaller amount of heroin into Taiwan.

Airport police and customs officials warn that with the Chinese New Year only a month away, demand in the local market for illegal drugs is expected to surge. They anticipate an uptick in smuggling attempts like the one Wednesday in which the trio concealed the drugs in black plastic bags at the bottom of checked luggage on a TransAsia Airways flight from Bangkok.

Tipped off by a report from Thai officials, airport customs officials and police arrested the woman and seized the stash of heroin. Questioning quickly revealed that the female suspect was to deliver the heroin to a French national in Taichung. Police were dispatched to an address given for the man in Taichung, but he had apparently already departed, heading north in a taxi.

Police were able to obtain the license plate number of the taxi and tracked the vehicle from the Taichung interchange north. When it arrived at Taoyuan Airport at almost 2am Wednesday morning, they were already in place. One agent posed as a company employee meeting an arriving businessman and struck up a conversation with the French national, learning that he was expecting yet another foreigner on a late-night flight. The third foreigner was intercepted while clearing Customs, and the French national was taken into custody at about the same time. Customs officials found nearly 2.5 kilos of heroin in the third foreigner’s luggage.

Police questioned the three foreigners separately and established that the second foreigner was primarily responsible for arranging delivery of the drugs. The three have been turned over to the Taoyuan Prosecutor's Office for investigation as airport police continue their own investigation into the incident to find out whether other individuals were involved.