Major meth ring rooted out in Guangdong raid

Updated: 2014-01-04 02:19

By ZHENG CAIXIONG in Guangzhou (China Daily)

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Major meth ring rooted out in Guangdong raid

Police seize large amounts of methamphetamine at Boshe village in Lufeng, Guangdong province, in a crackdown on Dec 29. A total of 182 suspects were detained in the operation. JING GUOMIN / FOR CHINA DAILY

A major production base for methamphetamine, commonly known as "ice", has been rooted out in Lufeng, Guangdong province, after police raided a village notorious for illegal drugs production for years.

Boshe village, located in the eastern coastal area in the province, annually produced more than one-third of the ice on the Chinese mainland over the past three years, according to Guo Shaobo, deputy director-general of Guangdong Provincial Department of Public Security.

More than 20 percent of the families in the village were investigated for their involvement in drug production and trafficking, Guo said.

The village, which has more than 2,000 independent houses, covers an area of 0.54 square kilometers and has a population of 14,000 from 1,700 households.

Cai Dongjia, Party chief and head of Boshe, used to be an icon for local drug traffickers, Guo told a news conference in Guangzhou on Thursday.

Cai was detained in Huizhou when police launched a special operation in the early hours of Dec 29.

Cai was also a deputy to Shanwei City People’s Congress and has intricate connections with local governments.

According to Guo, Cai could always rescue, via bribing local Party and government officials, any drug traffickers who were detained by police in anti-drug operations over the past years.

Qiu Wei, political commissar of drug enforcement with the Guangdong provincial department of public security, said villagers who were hoodwinked by Cai set up roadblocks and even attacked police officers who came to the village to fight drug and related crimes.

"This is why drug production and related crimes were still active in the village after years of anti-drug efforts," Qiu said.

Cai had equipped villagers with replica AK-47s, homemade bombs, knives and other weapons, and established lookout posts and checkpoints at the village’s major entrances to counter a police crackdown, Qiu said.

To ensure the Dec 29 operation was a success, Guo said all the police officers came from outside the area. And authorities wanted to avoid "protective umbrellas" — local authorities in support of the drug operations who secretly tip off the drug traffickers in advance, Guo said.

According to Yang Zhiming, deputy mayor of Shanwei and director of the city’s department of public security, a total of 14 "protective umbrellas", including police station heads and village chiefs, were detained before the operation.

Yang said a total of 21 Party and government officials and police officers who acted as "protective umbrellas" were investigated in 2013.

The special operation that began at 4 am involved two police helicopters, four speedboats and police dogs.

More than 3,000 officers from four other cities in Guangdong rushed to the village from all directions, Guo said.

Three police officers were seriously injured during the operation. Two of them were shot, and the other suffered a broken leg after being knocked down by a car driven by the drug traffickers.

"All three police officers are in good condition and are receiving treatment," Guo said.

Police detained 182 suspects, including Cai Hanwu, deputy Party chief and deputy head of Boshe, and broke up 18 major drug gangs during the operation.

Police seized 2,925 kilograms of ice, 260 kg of ketamine powder and more than 23 metric tons of raw materials for producing drugs.