Firefighters called to a fire in a house in Tainan City last month, uncovered an illicit drug manufacturing operation, police revealed today, December 22.
Nearby residents reported an explosion and fire in the house in Jiali District at around 4:00 pm, November 24. The Tainan City Fire Department dispatched 15 vehicles and 31 personnel to the scene of the fire. Firefighters found the house unoccupied, and bare of furniture, but filled with chemical containers and laboratory equipment.
The fire was located on the third floor, where chemicals had spilled from a boiler. Firefighters extinguished the fire in just six minutes, but reported being affected by the strong stench of chemical fumes.
Police investigating the case accessed surveillance monitor footage, and identified two of three suspects who ran away from the house following the explosion. The men escaped the scene in two cars. Two of the men had suffered severe burns. A 32-year-old man, named Huang, drove to a hospital in Tainan City, while a 26-year-old man, named Gong, went to a hospital in Pingtung County to seek treatment.
Police located both men on the first day of the investigation, and put them under police guard until they could be interrogated. Huang spent 11 days in hospital, and Gong was transferred to a hospital in Kaohsiung City, where he spent 21 days in treatment.
Following the fire, 45 kilograms of finished, and 77 kilograms of semi-finished product used to make the “emerging drug” mephedrone (street name Meow Meow) were found in the house. Investigators believe there was enough of the product to make 100,000 drug coffee packs.
According to the investigation so far, Huang is believed to have been the mastermind of the operation. Huang rented the house, and installed the drug refining equipment on the third floor. Chemical raw materials were stored on the second floor.
Huang admits to being the master drug maker, claiming that the other men had just been visiting to have a look at the operation when the boiler exploded. The investigation is ongoing, including the search for the third suspect.
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