TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — A British man who has been working as an English teacher in southern Taiwan and two Taiwanese suspects have been indicted for their role in an international heroin smuggling operation in which they attempted to traffic over NT$100 million (US$3.5 million) worth of the category 1 drug.
During a press conference on Thursday (March 18), Lee Yang-chi (李泱輯), an officer in the Criminal Investigation Bureau's (CIB) International Criminal Affairs Division, announced that the bureau had worked closely with Thailand's Narcotics Suppression Bureau in bringing the three suspects to justice. On Oct. 18 last year, police in Thailand's Phatthalung Province seized 9.65 kilograms of heroin concealed beneath durian paste, inside plastic containers, and bound for to Taiwan via airmail.
Bag of heroin found underneath durian paste by Thai police. (CIB photo)
After commencing an investigation, the CIB found the intended recipient of the packages was 56-year-old British national Nathan Garrett. He had lived in Southeast Asia for a number of years but had flown from Vietnam to Taiwan last February.
He rented a home in Kaohsiung's Qianzhen District and taught English at a cram school in Pingtung County's Chaozhou Township. Due to the pandemic, he was able to apply for multiple extensions of his visa to stay in Taiwan.
Lee Yang-chi speaks at press conference on Thursday. (CNA photo)
After police identified Garrett, the Kaohsiung District Prosecutor's Office began an investigation. While carrying out surveillance, they found that he had received an international parcel on Nov. 14 last year and taken a Taiwan High-Speed Rail train to Changhua HSR Station.
When police observed that Garrett was preparing to hand the parcel over to two Taiwanese suspects, a male surnamed Huang (黃) and a female surnamed Chan (詹), they took the opportunity to arrest all three on the spot for what was believed to be a drug transaction. Police seized 17 bags of heroin weighing 2.14 kg each from Chan's bag and found that Huang was carrying a Glock handgun with six bullets and NT$100,000 in cash.
Items seized from Garrett, Huang, and Chan at Changhua HSR Station. (CIB photo)
According to a preliminary estimate, the street value of the drugs seized by police in Thailand and Taiwan during the two raids was NT$100 million. The evidence was presented to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutor's Office, which completed its investigation on March 11 this year.
On March 18, Lee announced that prosecutors have indicted Garrett, Huang, and Chan for breaching the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act.