Taipei, Since the start of the year, three shipments of illegal drugs from China have been seized in the northern port city of Keelung, customs officers there said Saturday.
In total, 240 kilograms of ketamine and 1,885 kilograms of hydroxylimine hydrochloride, which is used to make ketamine, have been found hidden in machinery imported from China, said Lin Sheng-chih (???), deputy head of Marine Affairs Field Office in Keelung.
He said that on Jan. 25, customs officers found 240 kg of ketamine concealed in a kneader reactor for silicone shipped from China and that the man who later picked up the imported item was arrested in Luzhu District, Taoyuan.
On Feb. 1, customs officers saw something suspicious in a box containing an imported tea leaf dryer from China and upon inspection, found 747.9 kg of hydroxylimine hydrochloride hidden inside, Lin said.
The officials tailed the shipment to its destination, which also turned out to be Luzhu District in Taoyuan, and arrested the three men who collected it, Lin said.
He said there was a similar incident on Feb. 5 involving the shipment of color masterbatch and pigment mixers from China, which were found to contain a total of 1,137.8 kg of hydroxylimine hydrochloride.
The five mixers were delivered to a storage facility in Taoyuan's Longtan District, and the man who received them was arrested, Lin said.
He said the 240 kg of ketamine had a street value of NT$240 million (US$8.26 million), while the 1,885 kg of hydroxylimine hydrochloride had a potential value of NT$1.5 billion.
All five men who were arrested are currently under investigation for suspected involvement in drug smuggling, Lin said.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel