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August 19, 2011

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Trio admit smuggling precursors for meth

THREE people pleaded guilty yesterday on charges of smuggling more than 75 kilograms of ContacNT granules, which contain a key ingredient of methamphetamine, by hiding them in packs of clothes sent to New Zealand.

The suspects admitted they had dodged the inspections twice and successfully sent the drug precursor to a suspect's friend in New Zealand.

The suspects, all in their 30s, transported the common cold remedy five times from Shanghai and Beijing between November 2009 and last October, the Shanghai No. 2 Intermediate People's Court was told.

The five shipments were intercepted by Customs agents because of the huge quantity of capsules that had been dismantled into granules. The seized granules contained a total of 27 kilograms of pure pseudoephedrine hydrochloride that could be used to manufacture methamphetamine, the prosecutor said.

The suspects detailed their profit motive. Liu Caifu, from Fujian Province, said his friend surnamed Lin in New Zealand gave him 170,000 yuan (US$26,600) to help transport the granules. Liu then asked another suspect, Hong Yiming, who was deputy director of a local logistic company, for help and paid him 110,000 yuan.

Hong bought hundreds of articles of new clothes and hid the granules inside the clothes. Hong found the third suspect surnamed Feng, an ex-staffer in Hong's firm, who sent the clothes with granules to cargo companies, and gave him 800 yuan, the court was told.

The trio was arrested one after another in Shanghai in October 2010.

The suspects are subject to sentences of up to three years and fines, according to China's Criminal Law.


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