Largest marijuana field in 20 years busted in central Taiwan

Police raid largest marijuana field in 20 years in Nantou, Taiwan

Marijuana plants seized from Teng's field.

Marijuana plants seized from Teng's field. (By Central News Agency)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) -- What Nantou police described as the largest marijuana field in 20 years was raided by authorities in central Nantou County.

Police yesterday raided a marijuana field owned by a 59-year-old man surnamed Teng (鄧), where they seized 511 marijuana plants, 371.84 grams of seeds, 175.58 grams of buds, grinders, electronic scales, Ziploc bags, bongs, LED lamps, and other equipment for growing, storing and consuming the illegal drug, reported UDN. At a press conference, Nantou police claimed that Teng's operation was the largest "area of cannabis cultivation in the past 20 years."

In 2016, Teng had been sentenced to five years in jail for a previous charge of growing marijuana, but he refused to serve the sentence. In June of last year, he was placed on a wanted list, and started up his marijuana growing activities again, this time planting his cannabis crop on the opposite mountain top to where his previous field had been raided.

Teng rented land in a remote mountainous area where he constructed his own wooden shack hide out, around which he planted many marijuana plants. In May of this year, an arrest involving marijuana revealed that the dealer was Teng, therefore, a task force was formed by the Nantou Prosecutors' Office to track down Teng and his latest operation, reported CNA.

At 1 a.m. yesterday morning, 60 police gathered and by 4 a.m. they entered the mountain area where they believed Teng to be hiding. However, due to poor visibility in the early morning hours, police vehicles struggled to traverse the narrow mountain road, with one police cruiser sliding off the road and its wheel hanging off the edge of a sheer cliff.

Police were further hampered by torrential rain, which made the mountain road muddy and hard to pass. Teng was arrested on the scene along with his girlfriend, who were found sleeping soundly in the wooden shack, reported Liberty Times.

It is believed that Teng had been growing marijuana in the field for at least two years and the estimated annual sales revenue from his harvest would be around NT$100 million (US$3,269,000), according to BCC News.

On the return trip, conditions remained treacherous, with the vehicles in constant danger of sliding off into the steep valley below.

Teng was sent to the Nantou District Prosecutor's Office on suspicion violating the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例) for producing a category 2 narcotic, which is a felony that is punishable with a minimum sentence of seven years in prison.