Confiscated narcotics hit record high in 2021: data

SEOUL-- The amount of illegal narcotics confiscated in South Korea reached an all time high last year, with an increase of foreign and juvenile drug offenders, government data showed Friday.

According to the data compiled by the Supreme Prosecutors Office (SPO), a total of 1,295.7 kilograms of illegal drugs were confiscated in 2021, more than a threefold jump from a year earlier.

Noticeably, the amount of major illegal drugs -- including methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana -- soared more than five times on-year to 1,179 kilograms in 2021.

Prosecutors attributed the increase to large-scale clampdowns, including confiscating around 400 kilograms of cocaine illegally smuggled from Peru to the southern port city of Busan in October.

The number of people arrested for drug-related crimes inched down to 16,153 in 2021, compared with 18,050 a year earlier, the data showed.

The number of foreigners arrested for drug offenses in South Korea, meanwhile, jumped to an all-time high of 2,339, compared with 1,958 a year earlier, the SPO said.

Also, a total of 450 drug offenders aged 19 or younger were arrested last year, sharply up from 313 in 2020 and 119 in 2017, the data showed.

Prosecutors cited the increase to more opportunities for ordinary citizens to buy and sell drugs through the internet and social media.

Source: Yonhap News Agency