BEIJING (AP) — Chinese authorities deployed helicopters, speedboats and paramilitary police to seize three tons of methamphetamine in a massive raid on a single southern village notorious for illegal drugs production.
Security forces surrounded and then entered the village of Boshe, where more than a fifth of the households were suspected to be involved in or linked to the production and trafficking of drugs, Guangdong province's police force said on its website.
Police and paramilitary forces from four cities were mobilized in Sunday's raid and they arrested 182 suspects who worked for 18 large drug-making rings, the statement late Thursday said. No blood was shed, it said.
"The village has made a criminal drug production a 'clan-based, industrialized operation with local protection,'" police said.
"The offenders have for a long time been brazenly committing crimes, avoiding investigations and even ganging up to violently oppose law enforcement," the statement said.
China routinely carries out operations targeting illicit drug rings but it's unusual for such wide-ranging law enforcement resources to be deployed at once against a single village.
An aerial photo posted on the police website showed dozens of police vans parked in rows outside a walled village of densely built old houses with traditional-style peaked, tiled roofs. Another photo showed a helicopter taking off and another one parked nearby. Speedboats were sent to prevent suspects from fleeing the coastal village by sea.
The Yangcheng Evening News, a local newspaper, says the raid involved 3,000 police officers who seized 3 tons of methamphetamine in the raid.
Photos showed paramilitary officers in camouflage uniforms and holding rifles stood over large boxes filled with large packets of what is presumably crystal meth.
Boshe's villagers have resisted Chinese authorities for years, blockading the village entrance with motorcycles when word of a raid spread. The villagers would brandish replica AK-47s, lay nail boards on the road and hurl rocks and homemade grenades at officers, said the paper based in Guangzhou, the capital of Guangdong province.
The paper said police first captured the village party secretary who allegedly was protecting the drug operations from authorities. Other officials captured included the local police chief and other police officers.
Calls to police at the provincial and local levels rang unanswered Friday.
The provincial police said the city of Lufeng, which Boshe is in, has in the past three years become the source of a third of the country's total crystal meth supply.
The Boshe raid was part of "Operation Thunder," an ongoing crackdown on illicit drugs in Guangdong that was launched in July and has resulted in the detention of 11,000 suspects and the seizure of eight tons of drugs.