JOINT EFFORT: Sniffer dogs and officials discovered 977 bags of MDMA in three shipping containers in Taipei that were listed as containing clothing for retailers
By Jonathan Chin / Staff writer, with CNA
Keelung authorities last month confiscated 600kg of MDMA, the largest amount in the nation’s history, the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau said yesterday.
The haul of MDMA, which is commonly known as ecstasy, has a blackmarket value of NT$3 billion （US$102.24 million） and amounts to 23 million doses, officials said.
The bureau announced the bust at a news conference attended by bureau Director-General Tsai Ching-hsiang （蔡清祥）, Deputy Minister of Justice Tsai Pi-chung （蔡碧仲） and Keelung District Prosecutors’ Office chief prosecutor Chen Hung-ta （陳宏達）.
In December last year, the bureau’s Taipei office received intelligence that smugglers were moving a large quantity of drugs from China in anticipation of increased demand at night clubs over the Lunar New Year period, officials said.
The Keelung District Prosecutors’ Office was notified and it opened an inquiry, with the bureau leading the multiagency task force, which also involved the Customs Administration, officials said.
After reviewing tens of thousands of import documents, investigators zeroed in on several shipping containers stored in facilities in Taipei, which they inspected on Jan. 15, officials said.
With the aide of sniffer dogs, investigators discovered 977 bags in three shipping containers, inside boxes that had been listed as containing clothing on import documents, officials said.
Laboratory tests confirmed the bags contained MDMA, they said.
After surveiling suspects, bureau agents in Taichung on Monday arrested a man surnamed Chen （陳）, who is the registered owner of the shipment, officials said.
Chen is to be held in pretrial detention while investigations continue, they added.
The bust was the latest in a series of investigations that have uncovered large quantities of narcotics, including the discovery of a drug lab in Taipei’s Nangang District （南港） in October last year; a smuggling operation involving 14kg of heroin from Taichung in November; and the discovery of a ketamine lab in Taichung in December.