Fri, Jun 09, 2006 - Page 2 News List

Officials make biggest-ever drug bust at CKS airport

CNA , TAIPEI

A man pours out some of the ketamine that was seized at CKS airport in a raid conducted by the Coast Guard Administration and the Taipei Customs Office. A total of 202kg of ketamine -- the biggest drug bust yet at the airport -- was hidden in health food containers.

PHOTO: CNA

The Coast Guard Administration announced yesterday the largest seizure of narcotics so far in Taiwan -- 202kg of ketamine with a street value of about NT$150 million (US$4.68 million) -- at CKS airport.

Members of the drug smuggling ring had concealed the drugs in boxes, eaching containing 12 bottles, under the guise of powdered health food. They intended to smuggle the drugs from Europe to Taiwan, coast guard officials said.

A woman surnamed Huang was arrested while attempting to pick up the narcotics at the airport, and police are tracking down other suspects in the ring.

With the government's rigorous crackdown on drugs, the price of class 1 drugs (hard drugs such as opium, cocaine and heroin) and class 2 drugs (amphetamines, marijuana and MDMA) has soared, the officials said.

Ketamine, a class 3 drug, is a nonbarbiturate narcotic. As it costs far less than heroin or amphetamine, it has become a favorite of drug traffickers.

Police estimated they have seized 298.26kg of class 3 drugs in the first four months of this year, up 454 percent from the same period last year.

Smuggling ring

* Officials said they seized 202kg of ketamine from Europe.

* A woman surnamed Huang was arrested when she tried to pick up the drugs.

* Seizures of class 3 drugs in the first four months of the year were up 454 percent from last year, police say.


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