Record haul of ecstasy seized in Taipei

600 kilograms of ecstasy, with a street value of NT$3 billion was seized in Jan. with a suspect arrested this week

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Law enforcement officials with the seized drug shipment.

Law enforcement officials with the seized drug shipment. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (CNA) -- Some 600 kilograms of ecstasy, with a street value of NT$3 billion (about US$100 million), was seized in Taipei last month and the main suspect was arrested this week, the Investigation Bureau said Wednesday.

The drug bust, which was a record second-grade drug haul in Taiwan, was carried out by investigators based on a tipoff received in December 2017 that a drug trafficking ring was preparing to smuggle in a large shipment of ecstasy from China around the Lunar New Year holiday, the bureau said.

After screening thousands of customs clearance documents, a task force led by Keelung prosecutors and customs officers found 977 parcels of narcotics, weighing 600 kilograms in total, hidden in three containers that purportedly contained clothing, according to the bureau.

The drugs were found in Taipei on Jan 15 during checks at several depots, the bureau said.

However, the main suspect was not detained until Feb. 12, when he tried to claim the parcels in Taichung, and has since been held incommunicado at a detention center, according to the bureau.

It said the task force is carrying out further investigation into the case in an effort to track down all the other major suspects and accomplices.

The drug bust was the fourth major cache seized by Taiwan law enforcement since late last year.

In late October 2017, investigators raided a large factory that allegedly was producing ecstasy in Taipei's Nangkang District. A month later, law enforcement officers seized 14 kilograms of heroin in Taichung, and in December raided a ketamine factory in Taichung.

According to Keelung Customs Office Deputy Director Yeh Ming-hsing (葉明星), total of 4,400 kilograms of drugs were seized at the country's four customs last year. In the first two months this year, some 2,725 kilograms of drugs were busted at the Keelung Customs, he noted.