CHANGSHA, Dec. 14 (Xinhua) -- Police in central China's Hunan Province have caught 22 suspects for producing and selling a toxic diet drug that caused mental illness, the local public security department said Wednesday.
Nearly 100 million yuan (14.5 million U.S. dollars) was involved in the case, with products sold online across the country, said Yi Hanzhong, deputy head of the public security bureau of Huaihua City, at a press conference.
The city's food and drug supervision bureau reported the case to police in June when a local customer was diagnosed with a mild mental disorder after taking the weight-loss drug called "WOASO."
High levels of sibutramine, a substance banned in China since 2010 as it creates risk of cardiovascular disease, were tested in the drug, Yi said.
Among the detained were a Guangzhou-based biotech company manager surnamed Huang, who allegedly organized the production, a suspected dealer surnamed Yao, and their broker surnamed Liu, Yi said
Police found that since 2015, Yao had ordered the drug via Liu, who asked Huang for production. Yao later distributed the drugs via online sales across the country, with over 4,000 sellers involved.
Police also seized 600,000 toxic capsules and a large amount of semi-finished products and raw materials at the company in September.