Massive Raid of a Rural Chinese Town Nets More Than Three Tons of Meth

Thousands of police officers in helicopters and speedboats seized more than three tons of crystal meth worth nearly $300 million this week in a massive raid on a small, insular, difficult-to-reach province where a large percentage of China's meth is produced.

Police say that in Boshe, a small hamlet in the Guangdong Province, at least one in five of the village's 2,000 families are involved in the production of meth, China's second most popular drug after heroin.

In addition to the three tons of finished product, officials also seized weapons, ammunition, a bomb, 100 tons of meth ingredients, and 570 pounds of ketamine.

Three officers were injured during the raid — two were shot at and one was hit by a car.

Nearly 200 people, including some village officials and Cai Dongjia, former Communist leader, were arrested.

Boshe, once famous for its lychee fruit, hosts about 14,000 residents who all share the same last name, Cai. The insular nature of the village — including an extensive network of lookouts and human barricades of women, children, and elderly people, according to the LA Times — made it hard for police to bust methmakers in the past.

Residents have long complained about water and soil contaminations and power outages due to the massive meth operation, blaming corrupt officials and police for allowing the production to go on for so long. Lufeng, the city where Boshe is located, was designated as China's prime drug area as far back as 1999.

But extensive raids, codenamed "Operation Thunder" and carried out by out-of-state police officers, have netted nearly nine tons of meth and 11,000 arrests of alleged drug producers and traffickers since the operation's inception in July.

[image via Google Maps]