Cannabis compressed as “tea cake” intercepted at Taoyuan International Airport

A Canadian citizen was arrested at Taipei Taoyuan International Airport after customs officials found 20 kilograms of marijuana in his checked baggage, police revealed at a press conference today, January 9.

The 40-year-old Chinese Canadian man named Wei (危), was arrested at around 5:00 am, December 28, after an x-ray examination of his luggage raised the suspicions of customs officers. Officers took Wei and his baggage to an examination room where they opened the luggage. The officers found 20 round cakes resembling pu-er tea cakes.

pu'er tea cake
An actual pu’er tea cake. The tea is fermented and compressed into bricks or cakes. Picture from Wikipedia.

However, a reagent test turned positive for marijuana. Each of the 20 “cakes” was found to contain a little more than 1 kilogram of compressed marijuana, with a total of 20.77 kilograms, estimated to have a street value of more than NT$30 million.

The Aviation Police Bureau transferred Wei to the Taoyuan District Prosecutor’s Office to be investigated for violating drug hazard prevention regulations.

A police spokesperson said that Wei had attempted to disguise the cannabis as pu’er tea, and had arrived on an early morning flight in an attempt to avoid detection. According to Wei’s testimony, another party had paid him CAD$2,000 (NT$46,000), and provided air tickets and accommodation in return for him carrying the cannabis to Taiwan.

Police investigators are continuing investigations into the operation in an attempt to identify other persons involved.

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