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June 26, 2012

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Drug crime a growing problem in Shanghai

FOUR drug dealers who transported and sold more than 24 kilograms of drugs from Shenzhen City in south China's Guangdong Province to Shanghai were given sentences of life imprisonment or death yesterday by the Shanghai No.1 Intermediate People's Court.

The case was one of the biggest of its kind in a recent prosecutorial push against more than 200 suspects in 169 drug-related cases in Shanghai.

Prosecutors said police seized methamphetamine, also called ice, weighing more than 24.18 kilograms and 0.5 grams of ketamine, an anesthetic, when three of the four dealers were trading drugs in Shanghai. Illicit incomes of millions of yuan were also found in their bank accounts, the court heard.

Prosecutors said they see a slight growth in cases involving more than 1 kilogram of drugs in the past few months as a result of the police crackdown on organized drug rings.

Drugs seized in the crackdown weighed a total of 177.2 kilograms, among which 68 percent was methamphetamine, followed by heroine and cocaine. Plants used for narcotic drugs such as poppy were also seized in some cases, prosecutors said. Cross-border drug traffickers were charged ahead of the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking that falls today.

In one case, Song Changling, who intended to smuggle 5.77 kilograms of cocaine from Brazil to Shanghai Pudong International Airport, was put on trial yesterday. Song said he was told the customs officers had accepted bribes.

Local customs officials are warning residents not to receive international express deliveries on behalf of others, as inspectors have seized 17.3 kilograms of various drugs hidden in paper bags and childrens books in international deliveries since January.

As of yesterday, local courts had sentenced 918 suspects in 812 drug-related cases this year, and 149 of them were given from 10 years in prison to life sentences or given death penalties, according to the Shanghai Higher People's Court.

Three faces of city's drug problem

1. A drug addict who had inserted three needles into his chest to escape punishment in an earlier drug case stood on trial yesterday at the Shanghai No. 1 Intermediate People's Court.

Prosecutors said Miao Yijun, facing trial in June 2010, was first allowed medical treatment after he inserted the needles. Doctors said one of them could endanger his life as it was too close to the heart.

While recovering, however, he was caught on April 10, 2011 in the city's Hongkou District when he planned to buy 8.98 kilograms of methamphetamine from a drug dealer. Police seized five different kinds of drugs in Miao's home including meth, ketamine, marijuana and MDMA, also known as ecstasy.

2. A woman who bought 3 kilograms of methamphetamine from an online vendor outside Shanghai has been charged with drug trafficking after she was caught by Shanghai police. Wang said she met the vendor through the QQ online network who sold meth at about 170 yuan (US$26.71) per gram, half the price of a gram of the same drug sold in Shanghai.

The drugs she bought were hidden in loudspeaker boxes and Wang paid 520,000 yuan for them.

3. A Pakistani who carried 639.91 grams of heroin in his body and arrived at the Shanghai Pudong International Airport in March was sentenced to 15 years in prison and fined 30,000 yuan last month for drug smuggling.

Prosecutors said an inspection by customs officers found Amir Zeb, 47, had 81 cylinders in his body.

The white powder inside weighed 638.91 grams and its heroin content was 38.39 percent. Zeb will be deported from China after serving his sentence, the court said.


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