Fri, Aug 10, 2018 - Page 4 News List

Authorities seize massive shipment of hypnotic drug

Staff reporter, with CNA

Customs officials and police have seized a total of 1.6 million pills of the controlled hypnotic drug nimetazepam, the Criminal Investigation Bureau said on Wednesday.

The drugs were found hidden in 32 boxes labeled as live bait that were to be exported from Keelung to Malaysia on Friday last week, the bureau said at a news conference, with the ETtoday Web site reporting that the street value of the drugs was NT$320 million (US$10.45 million).

The bureau has a long-standing relationship with Malaysian authorities and information sharing enabled authorities to find the drugs, 3rd Investigation Corps official Chen Jung-piao (陳榮標) said.

An analysis of big data provided by the Ministry of Finance’s Customs Administration helped to pinpoint the individuals planning to smuggle the drugs, Chen said.

Three male suspects — a 36-year-old surnamed Chung (鍾), a 28-year-old surnamed Hsu (徐) and a 47-year-old surnamed Yu (余) — have been arrested, police said.

The sheer volume of drugs the suspects planned to smuggle was shocking and could have undermined social order in Malaysia, Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇) said.

It would have negatively affected Taiwan’s international image if the smugglers had not been caught in the act, he added.

Such a major drug seizure is a testament to the importance of cooperation and information sharing between Taiwanese and Malaysian authorities, he said.

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