Chinese police have broken up a drug-making and dealing ring, consisting of 19 members from nine provinces.
The public security bureau in Weifang City in east China's Shandong Province confirmed Thursday they have caught 19 suspects, seized 200 kg of drugs and 300 kg of materials for producing drugs.
Detectives with the bureau said they received the first tip from the public in July 2016, when residents suspected dangerous chemicals had caused the rupture of a sewage pipeline.
Police found an apartment in the community had been sold immediately after the residents' complaints, and the former owner often used big plastic buckets to dump waste. Police suspected the waste was chemicals used to make drugs.
The bureau set up a special task force to trace the suspect surnamed Pan, and discovered that he frequently made online purchases of chemical reaction vessels and detergents. He also frequently mailed goods nationwide.
Investigators later checked and confirmed that the goods were methcathinone, an amphetamine-like drug.
Police arrested Pan and another accomplice in January.
During the interrogation, police learned that Pan joined a social media chat group in which people could order chemicals for 10,000 yuan (1,527 U. S. dollars) per kg to produce homemade drugs, which they could sell for 16,000 yuan per kg.
This information led to the arrest of the other drug makers and dealers, raids on eight drug-dealing networks and five drug production workshops.
In recent years, the number of drug manufacturing cases in residential communities has risen.
Earlier this week, police in central China's Hubei Province busted a drug gang that was posing as household decorators in apartments, and caught 13 suspects.
Police confiscated more than 20 kilograms of yaba (a stimulant composed of methamphetamine and caffeine), 20 kilograms of drug components, drug-making equipment, two hand grenades, four pistols and several imitation pistols and bullets.