Taipei:A total of 1.6 million pills of the controlled hypnotic drug Nimetazepam (Erimin-5) have been seized by Taiwan customs and police, according to the Criminal Investigation Bureau (CIB) Wednesday.
The drugs were found hidden in 32 boxes disguised as live bait ready to be exported to Malaysia from Keelung Aug. 3, the CIB said, with the ETtoday website reporting that the street value of the drugs was NT$320 million (US$10.45 million).
CIB 3rd Investigation Corps official Chen Jung-piao (陳榮標) said the bureau has a long standing cooperative relationship with Malaysian authorities and information sharing enabled them to find the drugs.
An analysis of big data provided by the Customs Administration, under the Ministry of Finance, helped to pinpoint the individuals planning to smuggle the drugs, Chen said.
Three male suspects, a 36-year-old surnamed Chung (鍾), 28-year-old surnamed Hsu (徐) and 47-year-old surnamed Yu (余), were arrested, the police said.
Minister of the Interior Hsu Kuo-yung (徐國勇), who attended the press conference, said the sheer volume of drugs being smuggled was shocking, likely to undermine social order in Malaysia and impact Taiwan’s international image if the smugglers had not been caught in the act.
Such a major drug bust is a testament to the importance of cooperation and information sharing between Taiwanese and Malaysian authorities, he said.