Police in New Taipei City arrested three men and confiscated 400 kilograms of high-purity heroin in what is believed to be the largest on-shore drug bust in Taiwan’s history, it was announced at a press briefing yesterday, November 4.
The Criminal Investigation Corps of New Taipei City Police Department began an investigation into the large-scale drug trafficking operation after receiving intelligence in September that a warehouse on Dake 1st Road in Taishan District was being used by a drug smuggling syndicate.
After keeping the location under surveillance during the ensuing investigation, a team of 40 police officers accompanied by drug detection dogs swooped on the warehouse on October 21.
Investigators found the warehouse to be full of timber planks approximately two meters long and 30 centimeters wide stacked in bundles of 50.
According to the police report, the strong timber smell put the drug detection dogs off the scent of the drugs. However, officers tapped the planks and found that some of them sounded hollow. Some of the planks were taken to Taoyuan International Airport to be X-rayed, but no abnormalities were found. It was only when officers drilled into one of the planks that a layer of tinfoil was detected. The officers then finally pried open a plank and found heroin bricks hidden inside.
78 of the planks were found to contain a total of 172 “Double Lion” brand heroin bricks with a total weight of 400 kilograms. While equivalent or larger quantities have been previously intercepted at sea, the haul is believed to be the largest ever on land, police said.
The shipment is believed to have originated in northern Thailand, and to have been smuggled by sea. According to the investigation, the timber entered the country via a port in central Taiwan where it was declared at customs. Police estimate the value of the haul at more than NT$1.8 billion.
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