Police discover drugs in residence of two US men

By Jason Pan  /  Staff reporter

Tue, Jun 21, 2016 - Page 5

Prosecutors are preparing to file criminal charges against two US men, both English teachers, after marijuana, magic mushrooms and other illegal narcotics were allegedly found during a search of their residence in Taipei earlier this month.

The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office on Thursday last week identified the two men by their given names, Peter and George, both aged 27, as they were detained for questioning after military police executed a search warrant of their rented residence on June 7.

Fu Wei-hsin (傅偉鑫), commander of the Keelung military police unit that led the search, said his team discovered small pouches containing cannabis, 34g of magic mushrooms and small amounts of ecstasy, as well as marijuana bongs and other drug paraphernalia.

“Peter said he suffers from depression and that smoking marijuana helps alleviate his condition. He also said he holds a certificate for the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes, which was issued in the US,” Fu said.

Fu said both men argued with police, who quoted them as saying: “Smoking marijuana is healthier than smoking a cigarette. Marijuana comes from natural plants, while cigarettes are artificially processed. We do not understand why marijuana is regarded as an evil substance in Taiwan.”

The two men ordered cannabis and other drugs online, having sellers mail the packages to them from Canada, Fu said.

Earlier this month, a sniffer dog identified one package, which contained 32g of cannabis buds, during a customs inspection at Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, Fu said, adding that the package was addressed to the residence of the two men.

Law enforcement agencies were alerted of the package and investigators placed the two men under surveillance for about one month before the search was carried out, Fu said.

Fu said both men admitted to having purchased the cannabis and mushrooms online and having the packages sent to Taiwan, and that they bought the ecstasy from someone at a Taipei nightclub.

Police said that during the search, the two men initially refused to cooperate and claimed to not understand Chinese, but changed their position after military police officers showed them surveillance footage of them speaking Chinese to their Taiwanese friends.

Prosecutors said they would charge the two men with possession of illegal narcotics and violations of the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例).