XIAMEN, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Chinese police, in cooperation with their New Zealand counterpart, have catched four men in connection with the smuggling of 200 kilograms of ephedrine, customs sources said on Thursday.
It is the largest ever seizure of ephedrine, a key ingredient for making methamphetamine, in joint operation between Chinese and New Zealand police, according to the Xiamen customs in east China's Fujian Province.
In late April, 2016, 199.54 kilograms of ephedrine, with a street value of 102.07 million U.S. dollars, was discovered by New Zealand customs. The consignment was hidden in 80 boxes of paper sent from Xiamen.
A cavity had been made inside many of the boxes of paper to hide the ephedrine.
Chinese police launched an investigation as soon as they received the report from New Zealand police on May 13, the customs said.
On July 12, three suspects were seized in the cities of Fuzhou, Fujian Province; Shangrao, Jiangxi Province; and Nanning, Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region.
Another suspect was captured in Shangrao on Aug. 28, police said.
Officers from Xiamen customs' anti-smuggling department were sent to Auckland to gather evidence for the Chinese investigation in Dec. 2016, the customs said.
New Zealand police arrested three people implicated in the smuggling case in May 2016. They have been charged with importing and possessing controlled substances, which carry a maximum penalty of 14 years in prison.