Taiwan catches 2 tons of drugs hidden inside machinery from China

Ketamine and raw material enough to supply 5 million users: reports

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Investigators found 2 tons of drugs hidden inside machinery from China arriving in Keelung.

Investigators found 2 tons of drugs hidden inside machinery from China arriving in Keelung. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – Customs in Keelung found 2 tons of raw materials enough to make ketamine for 5 million people hidden inside machinery imported from China, reports said Saturday.

Five suspects were arrested in connection with the cases, but the authorities were still looking for the ring behind the drugs smuggling, the Liberty Times reported.

The Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau said it found 240 kilograms of ketamine and 1,884 kg of hydroxylimine hydrochloride, the raw material for the drug, hidden inside machines. If converted into the ketamine, the total street value would reach NT$1.5 billion (US$51.6 million). Three people could use 1 gram, so a total of 5 million users could have been reached by the amount smuggled into Keelung, the Liberty Times reported.

The drugs were hidden inside shipping containers brought ashore last January and February, investigators said.

Dogs reportedly sniffed out a strange smell coming from inside three types of machinery, and after inspectors cut through three layers of metal packing, they found the raw materials.

Prosecutors found three crime groups had been responsible for the import of the drugs, and five suspects were arrested at storage sites in Taoyuan City, reports said. After the suspects were interrogated, they were kept in custody while the investigation into the possible mastermind continued, according to the authorities.