The Investigation Bureau has warned of a sharp rise in the consumption of illegal drugs in Taiwan, urging agencies to tackle the problem and proposing law enforcement cooperation with other countries to combat increased cross-border drug trafficking.
The bureau made the call in its annual work report released on Wednesday, in which it detailed its anti-drug prevention efforts last year and analyzed new trends in the drug market.
The amount of illegal drugs, such as the grade-one drug heroine and the grade-two drug marijuana, seized by authorities in Taiwan grew markedly last year, the report said.
It said 499.1kg of marijuana was seized, which is 22 times more than the 22.6kg confiscated in 2016.
This indicates a sharp rise in demand for marijuana, it said.
The report said most of the narcotics were delivered to Taiwan from the US or Canada by drug dealers via couriers or were smuggled in containers.
Last year, a batch of high-end marijuana was found on a Chinese fishing boat for the first time, the report said.
The bureau called for cooperation between international law enforcement agencies to clamp down on cross-border drug trafficking, due to the entrepreneurial approaches adopted by international drug rings in producing, transporting and marketing narcotics.
With the drug market expanding fast all over the world, more Taiwanese drug dealers are working with international dealers to cash in on the narcotics trade, the bureau said.
Due to Taiwan’s location and its ocean fishing industry, the nation has been used increasingly by international drug rings as a transshipment hub for drug trafficking, the bureau said.
In the past few years, a growing number of Taiwanese have been caught acting as drug mules in Southeast or Northeast Asia for international drug rings, the bureau said.
In response to this challenge, cooperation between law enforcement authorities in different countries is needed, it said.
The bureau said it has already established contacts and exchanged information with law enforcement authorities in 27 countries and territories in Europe, America and Asia.
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