The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) Investigation Bureau would take full responsibility for the loss of 6.5kg of amphetamines that vanished as the drugs were being transported to a laboratory, Investigation Bureau Director-General Leu Weng-jong (呂文忠) said on Thursday.
The amphetamines, which were seized by the Maritime Affairs Field Division in Keelung in March last year, were found to be missing earlier this month during an internal check.
An investigator in charge of the case reported that the haul was likely lost in November last year after being sent to a laboratory in New Taipei City, said Chan Meng-lin (詹孟霖), the Field Division’s investigator in charge of the case.
It was supposed to be delivered by another investigator, Cheng Yi (鄭翊), but never reached the lab, Chan said.
During a legislative committee meeting, Leu said that problems in the Field Division’s Keelung office’s internal control system might have caused the incident.
The bureau would review the case and improve the handling of drugs and evidence in investigations, Leu said.
The Taoyuan District Prosecutors’ Office on Wednesday questioned six people in connection with the case, including former Keelung Field Office deputy director Lin Sheng-chih (林聖智) and Hsu Shu-liang (徐宿良), an official at the office, as well as Chan and Cheng.
Lin and Hsu were on Thursday released on NT$50,000 (US$1,735) bail respectively, while Chan and Cheng were released on NT$100,000 bail respectively. All four have been prohibited from leaving the country.
The bureau earlier this month formed a task force to investigate the case, leading to the demotion on Monday of Lin, Hsu and Keelung Field Office Director Chang Yi-feng (張益豐), while Chuang Kuo-chiao (莊國僑), an officer at the bureau’s inspection division was transferred to a new post in its Taipei office.
Commenting on the case, a prosecutor on condition of anonymity said that if the drugs were stolen by an investigator for the purpose of selling them, the person would have acted in contravention of the Anti-Corruption Act (貪污治罪條例), and could face up to five years in prison, and the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act (毒品危害防治條例), which prescribes of up to life imprisonment.
If an officer disposed of the package, they would be charged with intentional destruction of evidence, resulting in a maximum two-year prison sentence, which could be commuted to a fine, the prosecutor said.
However, if it was found that an officer unintentionally lost the drugs, they would only face an administrative penalty, the prosecutor said.
Additional reporting by Chang Wen-chuan
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