SEOUL, Feb. 2 (Xinhua) -- The amount of smuggled drugs, confiscated by the South Korean customs agency, halved last year despite the rising trend of drug trafficking through international mail and cargo, data showed Thursday.
A total of 624 kg narcotics were impounded in 2022, down 51 percent from a record high of 1,272 kg in the previous year, according to Korea Customs Service.
Excluding two major drug smuggling attempts amounting to 802 kg in 2021, the confiscated drugs in 2022 soared in double digits compared to the previous year.
The number of drug trafficking cases, intercepted by the agency, declined 27 percent to 771 last year.
The continued COVID-19 pandemic boosted drug smuggling attempts through international mail and cargo.
The amount of narcotics smuggled through international mail jumped 87 percent to 361 kg last year, and the figure through express cargo delivery services spiked 86 percent to 226 kg.
The drug delivery by travelers more than doubled to 36 kg in 2022 compared to the previous year.
By type, new drugs including synthetic hemp and MDMA, seized by the customs agency, amounted to 266 kg last year, followed by methamphetamine at 262 kg and hemp at 93 kg.
Smuggled drugs from Thailand more than doubled to 107 kg in 2022 from 49 kg in 2021, while narcotics from Laos more than sextupled from 16 kg to 99 kg in the cited period.
Drugs from the United States marked the largest amount at 109 kg last year.