Hong Kong customs is tracking a drug syndicate behind two shipments of methamphetamine from Mexico that officers seized last month in a record haul worth about HK$400 million (US$51 million). The Customs and Excise Department revealed on Sunday that one of the shipments arrived in Hong Kong on March 18 with a local logistic company acting as a consignee. Customs Drug Investigation Bureau chief Lee Kam-wing said the shipment contained three electric transformers. Finding it suspicious, firefighters were called to the scene to cut them open and they found 447 litres of suspected liquid methamphetamine, commonly known as Ice. The haul has an estimated market value of HK$260 million. Officers made the decision to open up the machines after dealing with a similar situation in February, when they discovered HK$110 million worth of cocaine concealed in an electric transformer from Costa Rica. “Importing electric transformers all the way from Mexico is rare, as such items are widely available in nearby countries,” the insider said. “Mexico is a common source of Ice. Hong Kong couple arrested over HK$36 million in suspected drugs found in flat Customs also discovered that the local logistic company was handling the shipment on behalf of another business across the border in mainland China. After exchanging intelligence with mainland customs officials, officers raided a warehouse in Sheung Shui on March 24, where they seized 253kg of crystal meth, worth HK$140 million. The drugs were discovered inside 10 industrial-use rubber shock absorbers, which took firefighters more than 20 hours to cut open. Lee said an investigation showed that the drug syndicate used a messenger application on social media to communicate with the logistics companies handling the narcotics. “When the contraband arrived in Hong Kong, the syndicate gave directions to the logistics company, asking them to first store the drugs and handle the haul later,” he said. “The company across the border then instructed another logistics company in Hong Kong to cooperate accordingly. By such means, drugs syndicate did not need to show up but could still control the logistic chain.” According to authorities, a 44-year-old owner of a logistic firm was arrested when he claimed the transformers at the airport. Another man, 43, who looked after the Sheung Shui warehouse, has also arrested. “We believe a drug syndicate was behind the two hauls of drugs and we are investigating if the narcotics were destined for Hong Kong or transiting the city,” the insider said. On February 26, customs officers found 100 bricks of cocaine, each weighing 1.2kg, in 10 metal boxes when they examined an electric transformer from Costa Rica. Two teenagers, aged 14 and 15, were arrested in connection with February’s haul. Hong Kong police raids seize HK$125 million worth of drugs shipped from Ecuador The meth haul in March beat a previous record drugs bust by customs officers in October 2020, when nearly HK$300 million worth of Ice was found in a shipping container on its way from Mexico to Australia The combined quantity of cocaine, cannabis, crystal meth, heroin and ketamine seized in Hong Kong has more than doubled to 10,627kg last year. Local authorities confiscated 3,296kg of ketamine in 2021, up nearly 600 per cent from 471kg in 2020. The quantity of cocaine seized also rose by 128 per cent to 2,895kg in 2021, up from 1,269kg the previous year. Meanwhile, the amount of Ice hauled by customs increased by 19.7 per cent to 1,794kg in 2021 from 1,499kg in 2020.