Multinational criminal ring arrested for smuggling meth in bulk into South Korea
Police said Tuesday they have arrested 26 suspected members of a multinational criminal organization and accomplices in connection with large-scale drug smuggling into South Korea.
Among them, 13 suspects, including Malaysians, Chinese and South Korean nationals, were referred to prosecutors with detention, according to Yeongdeungpo Police Station in Seoul. They plan to refer another member of the ring after further investigation.
Police and prosecutors have detained 16 of the 19 ring members identified so far, and they are tracking the people in charge of the three organizations.
The suspects are accused of smuggling 74 kilograms of methamphetamine from Malaysia to South Korea from Jan. 27 to Sept. 27, an amount that could be injected by 2.46 million people in a single dose.
This marks the second-largest distribution of meth alone, authorities said, amounting to 222 billion won (US$164 million) worth of the drug.
Police said they have collected 27.8 kg of the meth used in the crime and plan to track the remaining drugs, which they suspect are already circulating in the market.
Police suspect that groups in Malaysia, China and South Korea have taken a role of producing and smuggling the narcotics, transporting and storing them, and distributing and selling the drugs.
A total of 42 kg of meths were brought into the country by people, and the group in South Korea handed them over to their Chinese counterparts, whereas the remaining 32 kg were managed and distributed by the Malaysian group stationed in South Korea.
The narcotics were mostly sold using the so-called throwing method, in which drugs are left in a specific place, officials said.
Police set up a task force to look into the case in August, following an investigation on a suspect accused of taking drugs in July, which led to the discovery of a large-scale, multinational drug-smuggling scheme. (Yonhap)