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Police seize 230 kg of heroin off plane in major drug bust

2013/11/17 16:44:27

Taipei, Nov. 17 (CNA) Authorities seized 229 kilograms of heroin from a cargo plane at Taoyuan International Airport and made several arrests Sunday in the largest drug bust Taiwan has seen in the past two decades.

Police and customs officials searched the plane after it landed at around 3:20 a.m., discovering 600 bricks of the drug worth an estimated NT$9 billion (US$304.6 million) hidden in audio equipment shipped from Vietnam.

Seven suspects, including a man surnamed Weng who is believed to be the head of the operation and several warehouse workers, have been arrested.

The find and arrests mark the end of a two-year investigation that involved law enforcement in Taipei, New Taipei, Taoyuan County and Kaohsiung along with customs agencies.

Authorities reportedly conducted wiretaps on around 20 phone lines with court permission this month alone to crack the case.

Justice Minister Luo Ying-shay lauded prosecutors and police for their hard work, noting that they had only made use of wiretapping when necessary as a "weapon to effectively strike against criminals."

(By Huang Yi-han, Liu Chien-pang and Wesley Holzer)