Chinese Nationals Convicted in Maritime Drug Smuggling Case
SHERMAN, Texas – A jury has found two Chinese nationals guilty of maritime drug smuggling, announced Eastern District of Texas U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown today.
FeiShang Liang, 52, and KanHua Wu, 51, both of the People’s Republic of China, were found guilty by a jury of maritime drug smuggling violations following a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III on Aug. 2, 2018.
According to information presented in court, on Nov. 24, 2016, while on routine patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, a United States Coast Guard Cutter detected a 120 foot long fishing vessel approximately 1,025 nautical miles west of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. The Coast Guard launched its small boat to approach the fishing vessel, at which time the crew aboard the fishing vessel began throwing packages overboard. Afterwards, law enforcement officers recovered 42 packages containing 983 kilograms of cocaine and the seven crew members aboard the fishing vessel were arrested and charged with maritime drug smuggling violations. Testimony at trial revealed that Liang was the ship’s captain and Wu was the engineer. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter monitoring the vessel caught both Liang and Wu on videotape as they threw over one ton of cocaine outfitted with GPS trackers into the ocean as they were being pursued by the Coast Guard.
“To really have an effect on the drug supply in this country, we have to be willing to go after every person involved in the chain of distribution,” said Eastern District of Texas U.S. Attorney Joseph D. Brown. “Whether it’s the street dealer, or the person on the boat transporting, or the leader of the cartel, we will charge them and convict them.”
Under federal statutes, the defendants each face a minimum sentence of 10 years and up to life in federal prison on each count of conviction at the time of sentencing. The sentencing range prescribed by Congress is provided here for information purposes, as the sentencing will be determined by the court based on the advisory sentencing guidelines and other statutory factors. A sentencing hearing will be scheduled after the completion of a presentence investigation by the U.S. Probation Office.
This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jay R. Combs and Christopher Eason.