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Ketamine factory raided, 5,000 kg of drugs seized

2018/09/25 18:21:55

Kaohsiung, Sept. 25 (CNA) Law enforcement personnel arrested five suspects and seized more than 5,000 kilograms of ketamine, marijuana, and semi-finished ketamine in a raid of a factory in southern Taiwan, the Investigation Bureau under the Ministry of Justice (MJIB) said Tuesday.

The ketamine factory, located on the border between Chiayi County and Tainan, was the biggest to have been busted in Taiwan's history, MJIB officials said at a press briefing in Kaohsiung.

MJIB agents in Kaohsiung described the factory as a turnkey factory exported from China, with equipment, raw materials and drug-producing technology all shipped from across the Taiwan Strait.

With China beefing up its anti-drug campaigns by introducing harsh punishments, there have been signs suggesting that underground drug factories there are being relocated to Taiwan, the MJIB said.

According to the bureau, its first lead in the case came when customs officers discovered 120 kgs of raw materials for the production of ketamine during a customs inspection of a shipment from China at the port of Kaohsiung in May.

A special investigation team was then organized to trace the origin of the materials.

In July, the team confirmed that a 32-year-old Taiwanese man with a criminal record, identified only by his surname Lin (林), was the head of a criminal ring that was having raw materials for ketamine and drug-production equipment shipped to Taiwan from China bit by bit via courier.

Lin was also found to have joined with four other men in transforming a dilapidated shack on the Chiayi-Tainan border into a ketamine factory.

Once investigators who were following the suspects saw them produce ketamine, the team launched the raid on Aug. 10 along with prosecutors, military and local police and Coast Guard officers, the MJIB's Kaohsiung section said.

Aside from the arrests, they seized 5,268 kgs. of ketamine and semi-finished ketamine, 10 kgs. of marijuana bricks, 15 kgs. of synthetic marijuana and 30 kgs. of chloroethcathinone (CEC) at the site, the MJIB said, calling the facility a "super drug plant."

Four of the suspects are being held in detention while one has been released on bail, the MJIB said.

The MJIB did not announce the raid until Tuesday because it wanted have time to quietly track leads on possible sources of the ring's funding. Once the leads dried up, the MJIB decided to go public with the raid.

(By Cheng Chi-feng and Elizabeth Hsu)
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