Investigators yesterday announced that they had broken a heroin smuggling case and seized 229kg of heroin, marking the nation’s biggest cargo aircraft heroin smuggling bust.
The Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said its officers yesterday morning seized 600 packages of heroin in a cargo plane at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport with a combined weight of 229kg.
According to the bureau’s estimate, the amount the drugs could have been sold for was about NT$9 billion (US$300 million).
The drugs were found hidden in 12 empty stereo speakers, each of which contained 50 packages.
The packages had chocolate spread on them in a ploy to avoid detection by sniffer dogs, the bureau said.
The bureau said seven people had been arrested.
A suspect surnamed Wong (翁), who worked for a cargo transportation company and was familiar with cargo transportation channels, had visited Vietnam and China several times, apparently to handle the illegal drugs, investigators said.
The bureau added that they discovered last year that Wong and other suspects were involved in heroin smuggling operations so investigators began monitoring their actions.
It said investigators discovered that a cargo flight containing a large quantity of heroin would arrive in the country yesterday morning from Vietnam.
The bureau said Taiwanese suspects who reside in China directed Wong and others to conduct the operation.
The bureau said it would ask Chinese authorities to pursue the smuggling ring in China under the Agreement on Jointly Cracking Down on Crime and Mutual Legal Assistance Across the Strait (海峽兩岸共同打擊犯罪及司法互助協議) signed in 2009.
The bureau said that after a successful heroin smuggling bust and seizure of more than 100kg of the drug last month, and a bust leading to the seizure of 80kg of heroin in August last year, there has been a strong demand for heroin in the country, and smugglers have been working to import larger quantities.