Six Malaysian citizens have been indicted on drug-related offences in connection with Taiwan’s largest heroin smuggling bust of the year, according to a statement released on Wednesday by the Tainan District Prosecutors Office.
Prosecutors said in a statement that, on April 23, 117 nautical miles southwest of the Port of Kaohsiung, the six men were apprehended at sea with 122 kilos of heroin and 300 kilograms of ketamine on board their Malaysia-registered tugboat.
The drugs, which the police said had a street value of NT$1.2 billion (US$40 million), were allegedly smuggled from the “Golden Triangle,” a region formed by the intersection of the borders of Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar.
Prosecutors claim that the Malaysian nationals, who left from a port in Sabah, obtained the drugs from an unidentified ship in waters close to Sarawak.
According to the prosecution, the suspects were apprehended while trying to communicate with another vessel while in Taiwan’s exclusive economic zone.
Following a tip, Taiwan’s coast guard tracked down and boarded the ship, holding the six crew members in custody after they initially refused to have their vessel searched.
According to the prosecution, the men were charged with breaking the Pharmaceutical Affairs Act, the Smuggling Penalty Act, and the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act.