Two of three Taiwanese men suspected of smuggling 229kg of heroin from Vietnam to Taiwan last year have been arrested, Colonel Le Thanh Liem, deputy director of the Drug Crime Investigation Department, said.
One has been extradited from Thailand to Taiwan and the other was the one who personally hid the drugs in stereo speakers in Vietnam, he said.
Liem did not elaborate about the two, who are among the three prosecuted both in Taiwan and Vietnam -- Sung Yuan Hsuan, 34, Pan Po Chung, 40, and Chen Kuo Shun, 37.
“We will request the Taiwanese side to interrogate them about certain things. The trio visited Vietnam two to four times, mostly Ho Chi Minh City, with tourist visas and pretended to look for business partners and study the market,” he said.
On November 17 Taiwan's Criminal Investigation Bureau seized 600 chunks of heroin hidden inside 12 stereo speakers from a China Airlines cargo aircraft that had flown into Taoyuan International Airport in Taipei.
The drugs had been smeared with chocolate to avoid being detected by dogs, the bureau said.
It estimated the heroin to be worth US$300 million, Taiwan's largest heroin smuggling bust in two decades.
Liem said Taiwanese authorities had monitored the gang for a year and the detection of the consignment was not accidental.
“The gang has sent it people to Laos, Thailand, and Vietnam.”
The drugs originated in Laos before being smuggled through Ho Chi Minh City’s Tan Son Nhat airport to Taiwan, he said.\“We have agreed with Taiwanese authorities to launch a joint investigation.”
“This is an especially serious and complicated case… We are investigating who are involved in this case because it happened in HCMC.”