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Massive semi-finished amphetamine haul seized

2017/09/25 17:59:30

Kaohsiung, Sept. 25 (CNA) Justice Ministry investigators and port police have seized 1,260 kilograms of chloropseudoephedrine, a semi- finished material that can be purified into one metric ton of amphetamine, in the southern port city of Kaohsiung.

Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san (邱太三) announced the successful raid at a press conference in Kaohsiung Monday, in which he said that if the material had entered Taiwan and was processed into amphetamine, the finished drug would be enough for 20 million doses.

Acting on tip-offs, investigators from the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau, Kaohsiung Customs inspectors and Kaohsiung port police launched an inspection at the command of Kaohsiung District Prosecutor Wu Cheng-chung (吳正中) Sept. 20 of several thousand shipping containers containing imported hardware at the harbor.

During the inspection using sniffer dogs, they found a container from China containing the chemical hidden in wooden boxes.

After an investigation, a shell company was found to be the material's importer, which led to the arrest of five Taiwanese suspects, including a man surnamed Chiu (邱), according to prosecutors.

The traditional way of producing amphetamine is to chlorinate and hydrogenate ephedrine before purifying it. Drug factories normally prefer to handle chlorinated ephedrine because no tell-tale unpleasant odor is produced during the process, the prosecution said.

(By Chen Ja-fo and Elizabeth Hsu)