Guangdong Higher People's Court recently passed verdict on a smuggling case involving around 380 kilograms of heroin, according to the Guangzhou Huangpu Customs Office yesterday.
This affair is said to be the largest heroin smuggling case solved by the customs in China since 1949.
In its final judgment, the court sentenced three criminals to death. Another two were sentenced to death with a two-year reprieve and one was given life imprisonment.
The remaining 10 defendants received prison sentences ranging from two to 15 years.
They were sentenced on charges of smuggling, selling and producing drugs. Other crimes included illegal possession of drugs, firearms and ammunition.
The court also confiscated and ordered the disposal of 375.2 kilograms of heroin and 1,948.4 kilograms of methylephedrine, the raw material used to manufacture the drug known as "ice."
About 25 kilograms of other drugs were also seized as were the criminals' profits amounting to 14 million yuan (US$1.73 million) along with pistols, bullets and vehicles.
A Thai drug dealer was responsible for the drugs' sourcing, while domestic smugglers were responsible for the transportation of the drugs into China, in-country storage and sales, and moving the drug money out.
According to Liao Keqiang from the Huangpu customs office, He Guoming and He Jinshui were domestic smugglers who began to conspire with the Thai drug dealer in 2001. They smuggled 375 kilograms of heroin into China between April and May 2002.
In August of that year, He Jinshui also smuggled three pistols and over 100 bullets into China.
In April 2005, He Guoming and Zeng Jianji, another dealer, smuggled about two tons of methylephedrine into the country, aiming to produce ice in Shenzhen.
The Huangpu customs office spent many months tracing the smugglers and finally found a break-through in May 2005, enabling them to crack the case.
Due to its geographical proximity to Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Macao, south China's Guangdong Province has long been a hotbed for drug smugglers.
(China Daily September 13, 2006)