Police arrest 85 alleged gang members in China's largest drug seizure
BEIJING — Police arrested 85 gang members, smashed crystal meth factories and seized cars and houses in China's largest drug-making case, according to a local government and the National Narcotics Control Commission.
A six-month investigation involving the commission, State Food and Drug Administration and the Yibin city government and police concluded this week when officials announced the arrests of 85 people on charges of producing and selling crystal meth, the Yibin city government said in a statement posted on its Web site late Wednesday.
Police destroyed 44 tons of raw materials that could be used to make crystal meth worth $318 million, and 900 pounds of ephedrine, a main component of methamphetamine, it said. They also destroyed eight illegal factories and confiscated 10 apartments and 21 cars belonging to the suspects, the city said.
Photos on the Web site showed steamrollers smashing hundreds of cardboard boxes filled with confiscated raw materials and drugs.
The statement said it was China's largest drug bust in terms of drugs and raw materials seized, and co-operation among different government units.
The drug trade in China has flourished as social controls have been loosened over the last several decades. Government statistics put the number of known addicts at 1.2 million, including 700,000 heroin users, more than two-thirds of them under the age of 35.
Earlier this year, a 17-member gang was arrested for allegedly trafficking $400,000 worth of crystal meth and ketamine across China's southern border from Myanmar.
The Canadian Press.