Taipei, Sept. 5 (CNA) The Taitung District Prosecutors Office on Thursday indicted 16 people on drug trafficking charges, including a former police officer, in connection with two drug busts that were carried out in May.
On May 9, Taitung law enforcement officers seized 900 kilograms of amphetamine on a fishing boat off Orchid Island, the office said.
The following day, another Yilan registered fishing boat was raided, this time in Fugang Fishing Port in Taitung, and 600 kilograms of ketamine was found, the prosecutors office said.
The 1,500 kilograms of illegal drugs from the two raids had a street value of NT$4.5 billion (US$143.88 million) and had come from Cambodia, prosecutors said.
One of the suspects in the Orchid Island case was police officer Lee Che-ming (李哲銘), who had served for a while as chief of a police station on Orchid Island .
He was transferred to the Taitung Police Precinct on April 15 and had been under surveillance since then based on a tipoff, prosecutors said.
After the drug bust on May 9, Lee failed to show up for duty the next day and gave no reasons for his absence, according to prosecutors.
He was arrested June 10 in Pingtung County for his suspected role in the Orchid Island drug case, prosecutors said, adding that Lee was a gambler who was heavily in debt.
The other 15 suspects in the two cases were arrested later based on information provided by Lee, prosecutors said.
After months of investigation, the 16 people, including Lee who has since been relieved of his duties, were charged Thursday with drug trafficking, according to prosecutors.