《TAIPEI TIMES》 Joint probe with Vietnam nets record narcotics haul
Law enforcement forces in Vietnam seize a record amount of ketamine and other narcotics from a cement warehouse late last month. Photo copied by Chiu Chun-fu, Taipei Times
By Chiu Chun-fu and Kayleigh Madjar / Staff reporter, with staff writer
Investigators working with Vietnamese law enforcement officers last month seized an estimated NT$2 billion （US$63.24 million） of ketamine, a record haul that resulted in the arrest of six people, including two Taiwanese, the Criminal Investigation Bureau said yesterday.
An analysis of data showed suspicious movements by fishing vessels in Southeast Asia, Third Investigation Corps Captain Chang Wen-yuan （張文源） told a news conference in Taipei.
Cashflow records indicated that a transnational drug smuggling syndicate was operating, so the bureau reached out to representatives in Vietnam to liaise with local law enforcement, Chang said.
The joint operation uncovered a syndicate allegedly headed by a Chinese national surnamed Liao （廖）, the bureau said, adding that the syndicate had plans to transport a large shipment of ketamine and raw materials to destinations including Taiwan.
The narcotics were transported over land through Laos to two concrete warehouses in Vietnam’s Haiphong City and Ha Tinh Province before fishing vessels were to ship them to Taiwan and elsewhere, it said.
However, police raids late last month intercepted 1,350kg of ketamine, worth an estimated NT$2 billion, in the warehouses, it said.
It was a record drugs bust for Vietnam, the bureau said.
Two Taiwanese surnamed Tseng （曾） and Huang （黃） were arrested along with two Chinese nationals and two Laotian nationals, it said.
The investigation would be expanded to identify other suspects, it added.
The two Taiwanese would be tried in Vietnam and would only be repatriated to Taiwan after serving any sentences handed down by the court in the Southeast Asian country, Chang said.
Additional reporting by CNA