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Thai drug syndicate busted in Taiwan; 29 kg of heroin seized

2019/03/20 22:33:00

Taipei, March 20 (CNA) A drug ring headed by a Thai national was busted in Taiwan last month and some 29 kilograms of heroin was seized in the process, the Coast Guard Administration (CGA) said Wednesday.

The heroin was concealed in boxes labeled coconut water and had a street value of NT$150 million (US$4.83 million), Juan Wen-chieh (阮文杰), deputy chief of the CGA's Investigation Branch, said at a press conference.

He said the CGA received information last year about the drug ring and identified two suspects, a Thai and a Taiwanese, after coordination with the Customs Administration.

The CGA started surveillance of the two suspects last November and found that they were living in Wugu District, New Taipei.

On Feb. 27, they were arrested while being trying to organize distribution of the drugs they had smuggled into Taiwan earlier in the month, the CGA said.

A raid on their rented apartment turned up 76 heroin bricks that weighed 29.02 kg and NT$2.42 million in cash, the CGA said.

Initial investigations indicated that the Thai suspect, known as Sreenack, is a member of his country's military and an operative in the "Golden Triangle Drug Syndicate."

Sreenack was assigned to oversee the syndicate's operation in Taiwan after a series of crackdowns by Taiwan authorities on drug running, the CGA said, adding that the syndicate suspected there were moles in its Taiwan operations.

Sreenack arrived in Taiwan last October on a tourist visa and was joined by a Taiwanese surnamed Kao (高), who probably became involved because he was in debt due to a failed business, according to the CGA.

The two suspects kept a very low profile in Taiwan, traveling only by motorcycle or on foot, investigators said.

The investigators said they were still trying to trace the source of the drugs and that the two suspects had been uncooperative so far.

(By Huang Li-yun and Emerson Lim)