Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau conducted a two-year-long investigation, culminating in a raid on a drug manufacturing facility in Nantou County that netted the largest single haul of domestically-produced methamphetamine in the country’s history.
The investigation was instigated by the Pingtung District Prosecutor’s Office, and involved the joint efforts of a team from Taichung City, Changhua City, and Kaohsiung City police departments.
According to the investigation, a 32-year-old man, named Lee, financed the operation. Lee employed a 30-year-old man, named Lu, as chief chemist. Lu was on the police wanted list for not showing up to serve a 6-year prison term after being convicted of a drug manufacturing crime three years ago.
Lu had a reputation as a highly-skilled drug manufacturer and was known as “Taiwan’s Heisenberg,” after the character in the American TV series Breaking Bad.
Lee invested in drug making equipment and supplies. The group took almost two years to procure enough raw material in the form of cold and flu tablets containing the active ingredient pseudoephedrine. According to the investigation, in order to produce 300 kilograms of methamphetamine, Lee must have spent an estimated NT$60 million to purchase around six million pills.
In July this year, Lee and his accomplices set up the drug manufacturing facility in a house in Nantou County’s Puli Township. The police task force waited until the manufacturing process was at a mature stage before raiding the house. Lu and four accomplices were arrested in the raid, and police seized 313.85 kilograms of crystallized amphetamine and a quantity of unfinished product. The estimated market value of the haul is more than NT$250 million.
At a press conference today, police said that while larger drug hauls have been seized in anti-smuggling operations, this constituted the largest amount of methamphetamine seized in a manufacturing operation.
Further arrests were made, including that of Lee and five other people. A total of 10 people were charged by the Pingtung District prosecutor’s Office. The court gave permission to keep Lee and seven others in detention while the investigation continues.
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