Mon, Nov 07, 2005 - Page 1 News List

German held in huge heroin bust

FACING DEATH A German national could get a death sentence for attempting to smuggle US$3 million in heroin into the country under the guise of canned food

By Rich Chang  /  STAFF REPORTER , WITH AGENCIES

A German man was arrested Saturday night on suspicion of smuggling 6.1kg of heroin into the country, and could face the death penalty, according to airport police.

Guido Alexander Artur Sollner, 37, was arrested after he arrived from Hong Kong on a Cathay Pacific flight at Chiang Kai-shek International Airport Saturday night.

"The German man looked suspicious, so we X-rayed his luggage and found 6.1kg of heroin hidden in 15 cans marked as canned food," according to an Aviation Police Office press statement yesterday. A photograph released by police showed the suspect standing behind a stack of cans, marked with the S&W brand and labeled "Kidney Beans" or "Chili Beans."

Police said the smuggling marked the nation's largest drug bust in the last year, and that the heroin had an estimated street value of more than NT$100 million (US$3 million).

The suspect told police a Chinese man named Sam he met in Bangkok had asked him to deliver the heroin to Taipei, in exchange for a free trip to Taiwan, a cellphone and NT$7,000 spending money. He said he was instructed to hand over the heroin to a Taiwanese man at the Santos Hotel (三德飯店) near Taipei Main Station, and the man would pay him US$300.

The suspect was detained by Taoyuan District Court judges yesterday.

Senior prosecutor Chang Hsueh-ming (張學明) told the Taipei Times that the punishment for transporting heroin is either a life sentence or the death penalty. But because the German suspect carried a large amount of heroin, he would be likely to get the death penalty, the prosecutor said.

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