TAIPEI (CNA) – Premier Lai Ching-te (賴清德) praised law enforcement efforts Wednesday in busting a case of heroin smuggling Wednesday, shortly after an announcement by the Pingtung District Prosecutors Office.
Speaking at a news conference, Lai thanked the Pingtung prosecutors, police and coastal patrol authorities for their efforts, lauding their joint action in breaking the case.
According to the Pingtung Prosecutors Office, 470 kilograms of heroin were seized Nov. 19 from a culvert on a beach beside Provincial Highway 26, and two men were detained.
The haul, worth NT$6 billion (US$195 million), was the second- largest ever seized in Taiwan by weight, Minister of Justice Lai Ching-hsiang (蔡清祥) said.
Eight other accomplices were also detained by prosecutors.
According to one prosecutor probing the case, drug trafficking rings now ship narcotics from Southeast Asian countries to waters near Taiwan and use rafts to transport them to coastal areas, where they are hidden in culverts near highways. Accomplices then collect them in sports utility vehicles.
The case was cracked thanks to a tipoff provided by a mastermind involved in another case uncovered late last year, according to the Pingtung Prosecutors Office.
By Kuo Tze-hsuan and Flor Wang