Taiwan investigators last week seized more than 200 kilograms of cocaine that was packed inside car batteries imported from Brazil, the Ministry of Justice's Investigation Bureau (MJIB) said Monday.
During the raid on the cargo at Kaohsiung Customs, investigators also found not just cocaine but also 51.3 kg of amphetamine, the investigation bureau said.
It was the biggest drug haul in the country's history, the bureau said, estimating the cocaine's market value at NT$2 billion (US$62.5 million).
The raid was carried out in a joint operation by Taipei district prosecutors, MJIB agents, and coast guard and customs officers after an investigation into a Taipei-based import/export company, the bureau said.
It was found that the company was selling batteries for large cars to Australia at a price of less than NT$10,000 (US$312) per unit but the shipping cost was a staggering NT$30,000 per unit, the bureau said.
An initial inspection of a batch of batteries at Kaohsiung Customs on Dec. 1 revealed 51.3 kg of amphetamine concealed in fake batteries, according to the Investigation Bureau.
One suspect was arrested and a raid on his home turned up NT$2.45 million and several rounds of ammunition, which were seized by investigators, along with a Mercedes sedan, the bureau said.
The following day, a shipment of car batteries from Brazil to the suspect company was searched at Kaohsiung Customs, with the aid of sniffer dogs, and 218.45 kg of cocaine was found, the bureau said.
It said some 200 cocaine bricks were packed into the lead containers made to be like car batteries, which meant the scanners could not pick up the illicit cargo.
The amount of cocaine was enough to supply about 11 million people, the bureau said.
Speaking at a press conference Monday, Premier Lin Chuan (??) and Justice Minister Chiu Tai-san (???) said the government is committed to its fight against drugs and drug-related crimes.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel