The Criminal Investigation Bureau raided a property in Hsinchu County recently and uncovered a marijuana cultivation operation with more than 1,600 plants, the CIB revealed at a press conference today, April 21.
A police spokesperson said that the Taipei office of the CIB received a report in mid-March that a drug cartel had rented a large factory in Hsinchu to plant cannabis.
The subsequent investigation found that seedlings were raised in the factory, then transferred to a property in the mountainous Guanxi Township where the plants were raised in greenhouses.
A raid of the property saw a total of 1,608 plants grown in 7 greenhouses seized along with equipment for growing and drying. Two men, named Yu, and Qiu, were arrested on site, but police did not release news of the bust until a further investigation led to the arrest of accomplices.
Police said that several trucks were used to transport the plants and other evidence, however the quantity was so large that it could not be stored in the usual police storehouse.
Police had to place the plants in an auditorium under a 24-hour police guard.
The CIB spokesperson said that the estimated market value of the haul was around NT$500 million, and if the product had entered the market the harm would have been “great and unimaginable.”
According to the CIB, tighter border control and COVID-19 restrictions have made smuggling more difficult, caused an increase in prices, and drug cartels are turning more to growing cannabis domestically.
Police said the bust was the largest in Taiwan’s history, although the number of plants was 40 short of a 1,648-plant haul in Chiayi County in February.
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