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Suspects hiding drugs in cell phone cases nabbed

2012/09/15 22:00:58

Taipei, Sept. 15 (CNA) Police from the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) said Saturday that they have cracked a case where drug dealing suspects hid their product in cell phone cases and small packages to avoid detection.

Two men, surnamed Liu and Cheng, were arrested Friday night for importing amphetamines from China and referred to Banqiao prosecutors in accordance with the Narcotics Endangerment Prevention Act, police said.

The two suspects initially had the drugs packed in cell phone cases and then sent by courier service, but they later changed methods after discovering their illegal cargo could be detected by customs devices.

They had their partners in China wrap the drugs in Play-doh, shape the putty into decorations, put it into a gift box and then send it in a small package to pre-determined destinations, according to police.

Criminal investigators launched a probe into the case after receiving a tip-off in May that drug dealers on both sides of the Taiwan Strait have been sending amphetamines across borders in courier service packages.

Chinese public security officers also provided information in June that the ring was hiding drugs in cell phone cases, helping Taiwanese investigators close in on the two suspects.

When police arrested the two suspects Friday night, they also seized 117 grams of amphetamines, 23 gift boxes used to package the drugs, and 46 cell phone cases.

Investigators said transporting drugs in cell phone cases or parcels in small amounts is rare but still remains in use because recent crackdowns have reduced supply and pushed up prices.

Although drug dealers bring in only about 37.5 grams of amphetamines at a time using this method, they can earn NT$60,000 (US$2,044) per shipment, investigators said.

Judging by the fact that the gang brought in small packages of drugs at least four times a week, it has been able to make a decent profit trading in drugs, they said.

(By Johnson Sun and Scully Hsiao)