Authorities on Tuesday announced the arrest of four members of a group alleged to have smuggled chemicals from China that were to be used to produce ketamine.
The four were under surveillance, including having their phones wiretapped, for more than a year as the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) investigated the case in collaboration with the Customs Administration and the Coast Guard Administration, Yilan District Prosecutors’ Office head prosecutor Hsueh Chih-ho (薛植和) said.
“A search of a container at Keelung Port netted 70kg of hydroxylimine hydrochloride, which can be used to produce about 40kg of ketamine,” Hsueh said. “We estimate its total street value at about NT$45.5 million [US$1.51 million].”
The hydroxylimine hydrochloride was in pouches in 10 boxes of water filtration equipment in a shipping container, he said.
Authorities were tipped off about the container ship destined for Keelung Port from China and the interdiction was made in the first week of this month, after which law enforcement officers located and apprehended the four, Hsueh said.
The four male suspects are surnamed Su (蘇), 57; Feng (馮), 49; Chen (陳), 46; and Huang (黃), 35; a police statement said.
The four men had previously smuggled illegal drug-producing materials into other ports, including in Kaohsiung and Pingtung County, where the men are alleged to have drug-producing facilities, Hsueh said.
“We praise all the judiciary officials and law enforcement agencies involved in the case, which resulted in the successful interdiction of smuggled illegal materials for producing drugs,” he said. “If the ketamine went through final production yielding 40kg of narcotics, it would have put an estimated 1.2 million units of the drug in the hands of users, which would have resulted in grave damage to our society and endangered public security.”
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