A former police officer who was caught smuggling 126.4 kilograms of heroin into southern Taiwan last year has been found guilty of drug trafficking by the Pingtung District Court and sentenced to life in prison.
Wen Chun-lung (???) received the life sentence and was stripped of his civil rights for life because of the seriousness of the crime and because he should have known better as a former law enforcement officer not to break the law, according to the court ruling issued on Oct. 27.
Heroin, morphine, opium and cocaine are classified in Taiwan as Category 1 narcotics, and under the Narcotics Hazard Prevention Act, offenders caught for manufacturing, transporting or selling Category 1 narcotics are subject to the death penalty or life imprisonment.
The case dates back to March 2020 when the Kaohsiung Coast Guard received a tip-off about drug smugglers using fishing trawlers to transport illicit drugs.
After investigating the case for four months, authorities boarded a vessel called the "Yi Feng Man" (???) off the coast of the Hengchun Peninsula in Pingtung County at around 2 a.m. on July 24.
A thorough inspection of the vessel turned up five sacks of heroin packed in bricks weighing a total of 126.435 kg., and the captain of the ship, Lin Tse-fu (???), was arrested.
After searching for those responsible for arranging the smuggling operation, the authorities arrested Wen and four others in August 2020 and indicted them and the ship's captain on charges related to drug smuggling.
Though Wen initially denied heading the operation and said he was simply a hired hand, prosecutors later believed he was the main source of funding for the smuggling deal and was responsible for planning the transporting of the drugs.
According to Pingtung prosecutors, the drugs originated in Myanmar, were transported to a port in Vietnam, and then put on the Yi Feng Man at sea to take to Taiwan.
The heroin haul was estimated to have a market value of NT$3 billion (US$107.73 million).
Of the five other indicted suspects linked to the case, three were found guilty of drug smuggling, including the ship's captain, and received sentences ranging from 12-14 years in jail, while the other two were acquitted of the charges due to a lack of evidence, the court ruled.
The ruling can be appealed.
Source: Focus Taiwan News Channel