TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Japanese authorities on Wednesday (Dec. 11) seized nearly 600 kilograms of methamphetamine in the open sea near Kumamoto Prefecture, apprehending 11 suspects, including four Taiwanese.
It is reportedly the biggest ever meth smuggling bust in the southwestern prefecture. The 600 kg meth consignment, which the authorities believe was going to Japan through Taiwan, is valued at approximately NT$10.2 billion (US$333 million).
Three were charged with violating the Awakening Drug Control Law (in Japan, abuse of stimulant drugs is known as "awakening"), with eight others later arrested for the same offense, Japanese media reported. Among the 11 suspects, four are Taiwanese, according to Taiwan’s Coast Guard Administration (CCA), via a statement on Thursday (Dec. 12).
The Japanese intelligence agency was quoted as saying the meth may have been shipped from other countries for distribution to other boats. The Japanese authorities suspect more people are involved and the case is part of a larger international drug-dealing racket, reports said.
CCA said the case involved collaboration between Taiwan and Japan aimed at clamping down on smuggling. It said it had earlier formed a working group and shared key intelligence with with the Japanese authorities.