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18.3 kg of ketamine found in electric cables in central Taiwan

3 nabbed in Taichung as part of alleged overseas drug trafficking syndicate

Ketamine smuggled in electrical cable shipment. (CNA photo)

Ketamine smuggled in electrical cable shipment. (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An overseas drug trafficking syndicate allegedly used electrical cables to conceal ketamine with a street value of NT$36 million (US$1.15 million) in a shipment imported to Taiwan from France.

Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau was alerted that a local man named Ma (馬) and two others had received instructions from overseas accomplices to go to a residential address to pick up the package in Taichung’s Xitun District. Upon arriving, the group was ambushed by authorities who had been detained on suspicion of drug distribution, per UDN.

In September last year, the Criminal Investigation Bureau received notice from Taichung Customs that bags of ketamine had been placed around cable spools and then wrapped with thick-gauge electrical cable. The Taichung District Prosecutor’s Office monitored the package and waited for a group to claim it.

During the investigation, it was found that the drug trafficking syndicate covertley comminicated via the app Telegram. Information regarding pickup locations was conveyed to an accomplice, Jian (簡), who traveled by car while the two other associates trailed behind on motorcycles.

After picking up the illicit shipment, all three individuals were arrested. Jian was also found to be intoxicated and charged with drunk driving, in addition to other criminal charges.

During the investigation, Ma admitted that he had received instructions from an unknown party to pick up the goods, with the promise of financial compensation ranging between NT$100,000 and NT$600,000.

The Taichung District Prosecutor's Office said that all three individuals can be considered accomplices to the crime of transporting Class 3 drugs, which is a felony offense that typically includes a sentence of not less than 7 years and a maximum fine of NT$10 million. The three individuals were also deemed a flight risk, as a request for detention was approved.

The Criminal Investigation Bureau said the case successfully prevented harmful drugs from flowing into the market and potentially harming the public. It further reminded the public to think twice about the consequences of transporting illicit drugs.