NT$1 billion worth of illegal drugs seized by Taiwan authorities in six-month bust

The operation was one of the largest police have ever discovered

Tsai Ing-wen attended a CGA press conference on the matter Monday

Tsai Ing-wen attended a CGA press conference on the matter Monday (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — NT$1 billion worth of illegal substances have been seized over the past six months in one of the country’s largest-ever illicit drug busts, Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration said during a press conference on Monday.

A total of 2.8 kg of hashish, 60 kg of ketamine, 509 packets of drug-laced coffee, 2,763 kg of ingredients used to produce mephedrone, over 1 million tablets of sedative Etizolam, and 11 kilos of mixed third and second class drugs have been seized from warehouses.

Drug-laced coffee packets seized by authorities (CNA image)

Police also discovered two racking machines—used in the pharmaceutical industry—alongside a modified handgun and 34 bullets, reports CNA.

Tsai presented awards to officers involved in the haul and congratulated them for their brave efforts. She expressed the government’s ardent support for those at the frontline of law enforcement operations, and commended the individuals involved for the time, patience and determination it took to crack the case.

Its completion has guaranteed immeasurable contributions to the safety net of society, she stated.

The Coast Guard Administration Investigation Branch’s Keelung division was tipped off about the production and distribution of illegal substances in New Taipei City last year. An investigation was commenced, and following six months of tracing, searching and monitoring, a 27-year-old man was arrested during a deal in Keelung’s Qidu District (基隆七堵區).

After apprehending the man, police also discovered ketamine and drug-laced coffee in his car.

Following his arrest, a warehouse was discovered in New Taipei’s Wanli District (新北市萬里區) containing hashish, ketamine, the club drug Erimin and other raw ingredients. Police traced the source to a production plant in Ruifang (瑞芳) in late January, where they seized more raw materials and production tools.

Last week, a 28-year-old man with previous criminal convictions was arrested in relation to the case.

The bust was one of Taiwan's largest ever (CNA image)

Police said enough ketamine was seized to supply 120,000 people, and enough mephedrone for over 5 million uses.

Tsai said the Executive Yuan’s new anti-drug operations integrate the expertise and personnel of multiple ministries, and are implemented via joint regional defense mechanisms. The workforce will continue to resolve drug-related issues by tracing them to their root, and help provide society with the “safety net” it needs, she added.