TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — An American English teacher along with three Taiwanese have been arrested for allegedly operating an amphetamine factory in eastern Taiwan.
At a press conference on Tuesday (July 26), the Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau (MJIB) announced that it had received a tip that a Taiwanese man surnamed Lo (羅) and another surnamed Chen (陳), who had previously been arrested in Pingtung County last year for allegedly producing narcotics, but had been released, had started another operation in Taitung City. They allegedly recruited an American English teacher in Taitung who was identified by the Chinese surname Lin (林) to collaborate with them in setting up a new drug factory.
They allegedly converted a bar owned by Lin into a facility to produce amphetamines. Although the facility was located in the middle of an urban area with many banks and stores, Lo and Chen believed that they could conceal the odors of the drug-making process and thought Lin’s regular schedule as an English teacher would avoid suspicion.
The suspects also allegedly piled up bricks, cement, and other construction materials outside the building to give the illusion that they were carrying out renovation on the premises. However, after a long-term investigation, a special task force led by the MJIB found that Lin used his spare time to drive back and forth between the factory and a warehouse where drug-making equipment was stored.
They also discovered that Lin assisted in transporting drugs and equipment and manufactured the narcotics in the defunct bar with Lo and other accomplices.
On March 11, a team of officers raided the former bar on Zhonghua Road in Taichung City and a container warehouse where semi-finished products were stored. When members of the task force raided the derelict bar, they broke through a window on the second floor, where they found members of the drug ring lying on the sofa after a busy night of manufacturing narcotics.
At the scene, four suspects were arrested, including Lo, who was considered the mastermind behind the operation, as well as Chen, Lin, and another suspect surnamed Cheng (鄭). Officers also seized 1,159 grams of amphetamine, 9,603 g of semi-finished amphetamine, and a large amount of drug manufacturing equipment and raw materials.
All four suspects have been indicted by the Pingtung District Prosecutors Office for violating the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防制條例). The suspects are currently being detained incommunicado.
Bar that was converted into a drug factory. (Investigation Bureau photo)