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American English teacher busted for growing 19 marijuana plants in south Taiwan

Kaohsiung cram school teacher caught cultivating marijuana in 5th floor apartment

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A man suspected of growing marijuana is questioned by police. (Photo by member of the public)

A man suspected of growing marijuana is questioned by police. (Photo by member of the public)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An American employed at a cram school in Kaohsiung was arrested earlier this month for growing nearly 20 marijuana plants in his residence.

The suspect, a 35-year-old U.S. national who has been living in Taiwan for five years, recently started renting a fifth-floor apartment in Kaohsiung's Yancheng District. Police received a tip that he was growing marijuana in his apartment and formed a task force to investigate.

Police obtained a search warrant, and on Nov. 8 over 30 officers from the Kaohsiung City Police Bureau's Yangcheng and Sanmin First Precincts as well as the Taichung City Police Department raided the man's apartment. As soon as officers entered the residence they could smell the strong, telltale odor of cannabis.

American English teacher busted for growing 19 marijuana plants in south Taiwan
Items seized from suspect's apartment by police. (Kaohsiung City Police Bureau photo)

Officers soon found two black grow tents with 19 marijuana plants inside as well as grow lights and equipment control lighting and humidity, reported the Liberty Times. In addition, police seized 50 cannabis seeds, 337 grams of finished products, water pipes, gardening tools, and 19 cannabis edibles.

When he was taken in for questioning, the suspect claimed that the cannabis products were all for his own consumption. He said that in the past, while living in the U.S., he had smoked marijuana to relieve back pain, reported China Times.

After moving to Taiwan, he said that he went online to learn how to grow marijuana, but he refused to say how he had obtained the cannabis seeds. He denied selling the marijuana for profit and insisted that he was only growing it out of curiosity and his own use.

The street value of the marijuana goods he produced is worth NT$370,000 (US$13,300). Police took a urine sample from the suspect and plan to investigate whether he had accomplices and how he had obtained the seeds.

After they finished questioning the suspect, police transferred him to the Kaohsiung District Prosecutor's Office to be investigated for violating Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例).

American English teacher busted for growing 19 marijuana plants in south Taiwan
Suspect (left) being questioned by police officer. (Photo from member of public)