Summary: The authorities in Taiwan have made a record seizure of drugs transshipped in containers, discovering 180 tonnes of kratom in seven containers at Kaohsiung port. The shipment, which originated from Indonesia’s Tanjong Priok port, was destined for Los Angeles port in the United States.
Record Drug Seizure in Taiwan: 180 Tonnes of Kratom Bound for the US Intercepted
The authorities in Taiwan have made a significant discovery, uncovering the island’s largest case of drug transshipment in containers. A total of 180 tonnes of kratom were found in seven containers that were awaiting transshipment in Kaohsiung port. These cargoes had arrived from Indonesia’s Tanjong Priok port and were on their way to the Los Angeles port in the United States.
Kratom is a substance used to treat ailments such as muscle pain, cramps, and diarrhea. While it is legal in Indonesia and certain parts of the US, it has been classified as a controlled drug in Taiwan since 2019 due to its addictive properties.
The interception of this massive shipment was ordered by Taiwan’s Ministry of Justice Investigation Bureau on 15 August. This action came nearly four months after they were alerted by their US counterparts in April about the impending shipment. The containers were found to have varying amounts of kratom, with three containers containing 1,080 boxes each, two with 1,125 boxes, and the remaining two with 1,395 and 650 boxes respectively.
Initially, only two containers were seized. However, after checks revealed that four other containers had also arrived from Tanjong Priok and were scheduled to be transshipped to Los Angeles, they too were searched and seized. The US authorities had informed their Taiwanese counterparts about a kratom shipment transiting through Kaohsiung. The total street value of the seized kratom is estimated to be TW$36.3 billion (US$1.14 billion).
As of now, no arrests have been made since these were transshipment containers. However, the confiscated drugs are set to be destroyed. Taiwanese premier Chen Chian-jen, after meeting with the investigation team post-seizure, stated that this crackdown has not only prevented drugs from entering Taiwan but has also thwarted efforts to make Taiwan a drug transit center.
This significant seizure of Kratom in Taiwan comes shortly after Dutch customs officers confiscated 8 tonnes of cocaine from a Maersk container ship in Rotterdam port. This was the largest drug haul in that port, with the drugs concealed in 8,064 one-kilo packages beneath a consignment of bananas. The drugs, valued at EUR 600 million (US$653 million), had been shipped from Ecuador via Panama.
Source: Container News
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