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Taiwan's aviation police seize over 97kg of ketamine

The drugs, hidden in latex pillows, were shipped from abroad to a courier facility near Taoyuan Int'l Airport

Photo taken by the Aviation Police Bureau

Photo taken by the Aviation Police Bureau (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (CNA) -- A shipment containing more than 97 kilograms of ketamine, a fast-acting and powerful anesthetic often used as a date rape drug, was discovered on Friday at a courier facility near Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, law enforcement said Sunday.

Aviation police and customs officers discovered the drugs when they arrived in a shipment from Bangkok, Thailand using express delivery services, an officer from the Aviation Police Bureau said at a press conference.

Officers found suspicious white powder weighing 97.035 kg hidden in 71 boxes of latex pillows in the shipment that was declared to customs as clothing at the Taiwan Air Cargo Terminal warehouse, which is dedicated to express courier services, according to the officer.

Following analysis, the substance found in the packages was determined to be ketamine, the officer said.

Authorities reported the case to the Taoyuan District Prosecutors Office for further investigation in the hope of tracking down those who imported the drugs into Taiwan.

Police arrested a man in Taichung on Saturday when he tried to pick up the shipment, which was transferred to a courier facility in the central Taiwan city.

The suspect told police he was paid NT$30,000 (US$1,041) to retrieve the shipment and was unaware of its contents.

The 97 kg of ketamine is estimated to have a street value of up to NT$100 million, according to the officer.