Crackdown targets mailed drugs
Guangzhou Customs officers have seized 31 foreign suspects since October in a campaign targeting increased drugs smuggling by parcels and mail.
Arrests of foreign drug smugglers increase every year, officials said. They come mainly from Africa and South Asia.
Officers solved 50 cases, dismantled seven gangs and seized 106 kg of drugs and 42 suspects, said Luo Yinbo, deputy chief of Guangzhou Customs on Thursday.
In the campaign, drugs were found in rock sugar, a pot of plastic flowers, the hems of dresses, the limbs and heads of dolls and in induction cookers all in mailed packages. Of the 178 drug smuggling cases solved by Guangzhou officers this year, 105 involved mailed items or courier packs.
Mailing and couriers have become key channels for international drug rings, and it is difficult to get evidence because neither the sender nor receiver is present, and some mailing information is fake, Luo said.
In one case, a customs officer stationed at a post office in Guangzhou found methamphetamine hidden in a parcel destined for Indonesia in late September.
A suspect from Ghana was caught in mid-November trying to mail a package with methamphetamine. More was found in pillows and a sofa in the suspect’s rented house, with a total of 1.51 kg confiscated.
Facing the challenges, Guangzhou Customs requires courier companies to check all parcels, and has offered them training.
Guangzhou Customs plans to sign an agreement with postal and courier companies to enhance coordination.
Among the 107 smuggling suspects caught this year, 82 were foreigners.
Customs officials have expanded cooperation with their counterparts in countries and regions including Hong Kong, Macao, the United States, Australia and Singapore, said Cui Qingchao, deputy head of the anti-smuggling police at Guangzhou Customs.
Guangzhou Customs has reported more than 10 cases involving chemicals that can easily be used to make drugs to customs officials in Pakistan, where the mail originated.
It also informed its counterpart in Bangladesh about suspects in a case involving 89 kg of heroin.
Given that many of the packages with drugs were bound for Australia recently, Guangzhou officers created a rapid response mechanism in coordination with their Australian counterparts, Cui said.
Drugs smuggled from abroad, including Southeast Asia and Central and South Asian countries, are the main sources that feed underground drug use across China, Liu Yuejin, director of the narcotics department at the Ministry of Public Security, said in an interview earlier this year.
China has also established judicial cooperation with Southeast Asian countries and is promoting law enforcement cooperation with some countries in Central and South Asia.
It is trying to deepen judicial cooperation with North American and European countries to improve intelligence exchanges and cooperation in individual cases, Liu said.
Anti-smuggling police with Guangzhou Customs display drugs seized from mail and parcels.