Japanese law enforcement authorities said on Monday they seized more than 150kg of stimulants several weeks ago and have arrested three Taiwanese suspects in the case.
Officials from the Organised Crime Control Bureau of the Tokyo metropolitan police and Tokyo customs officers said 154kg of stimulants with a street value of ¥10.7 billion (HK$800 million) were seized in the case in late July.
They said the drugs had been hidden in 216 cardboard boxes containing LED lights that were transported to Japan by a cargo ship that originated in Guangzhou, China.
After the ship docked at the Port of Tokyo, the drugs were transported to a warehouse in the city of Kisarazu in Chiba prefecture.
On July 24, three Taiwanese were arrested after they were caught transporting 5kg of the stimulants from the same warehouse. The rest of the drugs were seized from the warehouse and the suspects’ apartment.
Taiwan’s Criminal Investigation Bureau said in a statement on Monday that it had cooperated with Japan in the case.
The bureau said it learned last December that a group of suspected international drug traffickers were smuggling amphetamine to Japan and Taiwan from a third country by various means and that Japanese gang members had come to Taiwan on several occasions to meet with their Taiwanese suspects.
It said it asked its Japanese counterpart for assistance and the two sides began exchanging intelligence. They subsequently learned the drug traffickers were smuggling amphetamine to Taiwan and Japan by concealing it in shipping containers.
A search of containers by the Japanese police in Kanagawa and Chiba prefectures on July 24 turned up a total of 173kg of amphetamine and police also arrested four Taiwanese nationals suspected of being recruited by a Japanese gang, the bureau said.
It estimated that the drugs seized had a street value of ¥12.1 billion
The Japanese side did not mention the case of containers searched in Kanagawa prefecture, nor the arrest of a fourth Taiwanese.