Guangdong police, working with their counterparts in Fujian province, seized more than 1.1 tons of methamphetamine, commonly known as "ice", after busting three major laboratories on May 14 and 15, according to a senior Guangdong police officer.
Another 1.2 tons of semifinished "ice", as well as abundant raw materials, tools and equipment, were also seized during the operations, which were launched simultaneously in seven cities, said Deng Jianwei, director of drug enforcement for the Guangdong provincial Department of Public Security.
"A total of 48 suspects, including two Taiwan residents, were detained, while 17 vehicles used to transport drugs, a pistol, 10 bullets and more than 7 million yuan (S$1.5 million) in cash were also seized during the police operation," police said at a news conference in Guangzhou on Thursday.
In the largest bust of the operation, police seized more than 339 kilograms of "ice" and 1.04 tons of semifinished "ice" in a secret drug production location in Zhaoqing on May 15, he said.
But Deng reiterated that fighting drugs is a long-term and difficult task in Guangdong, which has been the focus of China's anti-drug campaign for many years.
According to official statistics, the methamphetamine produced in Shanwei accounts for about half of the total "ice" on the mainland, while the ketamine produced in Huizhou accounts for about one-third of the country's total.
"Many drug networks and channels still exist after many years of fighting drug-related crimes in the eastern part of Guangdong province," Deng said.
Some poor residents depend heavily on the hugely profitable drug industry for a living, Deng said.
"A worker can earn more than 10,000 yuan, or a local white-collar worker's monthly income, in a single day working in some secret drug lab, while a drug production engineer can earn even more than 20,000 yuan a day," he said.
"No other industry, except the drug sector, can offer such huge incomes to locals," Deng said.
Deng hinted that more special campaigns will be launched to fight drug-related crimes in the months to come.
"Police will increase rewards to locals who tip them off with clues that lead to solutions to drug and related cases," he added.
Guangdong police have exposed 61 secret drug production locations, seizing more than 6 tons of "ice" and 6.2 tons of semifinished products, since September.
A total of 1,564 suspects have been detained since then.