Authorities believe that a Korean man in his 30s was trying to ship a ton of methamphetamine from South Korea to Australia. The discovery highlights how felons who use synthetic drugs from Mexico continue to find their way to the Asia-Pacific region.
According to reports from the Korea JoogAng Daily, the Korean male was arrested, and prosecutors in Busan indicted the man with attempting to smuggle an extraordinary amount of methamphetamine into Korea from Mexico from 2019 to 2020, worth over million dollars.
“From the beginning of the investigation, we cooperated with the customs authorities in Busan, the National Intelligence Service [NIS] and international agencies, and together we were able to catch the man with the 404.23 kilograms of methamphetamine,” said a prosecutor of the Busan District Prosecutors’ Office. “But another 500 kilograms of methamphetamine that were smuggled into Korea from Mexico have already been smuggled into Australia.
Korea JoogAng Daily news outlet also quoted prosecutors as saying that the seizure is the largest-ever methamphetamine seizure in Korea. Prosecutors said they believed the Korean man worked closely with an individual in Australia who they both successfully smuggled.
According to reports, the man disguised the meth inside helical gears, a circular-shaped machine used in aircraft.
The prosecutor said in a statement, “The two men smuggled drugs into Korea because they thought that smuggling meth from Korea to Australia would be less likely to be caught than smuggling methamphetamine directly from Mexico to Australia,” the prosecutor continued. “We will crackdown on the smuggling of narcotics through cooperation with relevant agencies such as the NIS and the national tax authorities.” Authorities in Australia were put on notice.
Methamphetamine from Mexico has become a global commodity, with smugglers focusing on Europe, East Asia, and Australia. Traffickers search for creative routes, given that law enforcement agencies often discover trafficking routes and shipments.
Despite South Korea’s reputation as a drug-free country, drug traffickers often operate out of South Korea for that reason. According to data, drugs discovered in South Korea are often smuggled to Hong Kong and China who have established methamphetamine markets.
In November 2020, authorities in Hong Kong were able to stop half a ton of methamphetamine shipped from Hong Kong headed to Australia.