Drugs seized in raids on southern Chinese village

HONG KONG Fri Jan 3, 2014 1:33am EST

1 of 2. Paramilitary policemen guard suspects during a raid where three tonnes of crystal meth were seized at Boshe village, Lufeng, Guangdong province, December 29, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer

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HONG KONG (Reuters) - Police in the southern Chinese province of Guangdong have seized nearly three metric tons (3.3 tons) of the drug crystal methamphetamine and arrested 182 people in raids on a village notorious for producing narcotics.

With the help of helicopters and speed boats, authorities targeted Boshe village, which has supplied over a third of crystal meth nationwide in the past three years, the provincial public security department said in a statement late on Thursday.

More than 20 percent of households in Boshe, which is part of the southeastern city of Lufeng, are directly involved in or have a stake in drug production and trafficking rings, it added.

Local media reported that village officials were among those arrested in the dawn raid last Sunday, although the security department statement gave no such details.

More than 20 metric tons of raw materials for drug production were also seized, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Police did not reveal the value of the seizure, although the South China Morning Post said the crystal meth, also known as ice, was worth an estimated HK$1.8 billion ($232 million) in Hong Kong.

Guangdong police have detained 10,836 suspects and seized 8.1 metric tons of drugs since launching the "Thunder Operations" campaign against drug crimes on July 30, according to Xinhua.

In China, methamphetamine is the second most popular drug after heroin.

($1 = 7.7538 Hong Kong dollars)

(Reporting By Grace Li; Editing by Ron Popeski)

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