China / Society

Woman 'swallowed heroin stash'

By Mao Weihua in Urumqi and Cui Jia in Beijing (China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-08 08:37

A woman has been arrested for drug possession after being questioned by police at the Turpan train station in the Xinjiang Uygur autonomous region and reportedly confessed she swallowed 78 pellets containing a total of 348 grams of heroin, China News Service reported on Sunday.

Police said the woman raised their suspicions by her erratic behavior and attempts to evade a routine security search at the train station on Sept 1.

During a pat-down, police found eight pellets of what they suspected was heroin in her underwear, wrapped in clear plastic. The woman then confessed that she had swallowed 78 pellets of heroin on Aug 30, police said, and took a train from Chengdu to Turpan. She had planned to transfer at Turpan station to the city of Shihezi. However, when the train was about to arrive in Turpan, she passed eight pellets and hid them in her underwear.

She was taken to Turpan hospital for an X-ray examination, where unusual objects were detected in her stomach. The woman later passed 70 pellets.

As an important transfer hub to southern Xinjiang, Turpan station is located at the crossings of the Lanzhou-Xinjiang Railway and South Xinjiang Railway. The station handles 2 million passenger transfers annually and is a hub for drug-trafficking in the region.

The number of drug-related cases that courts in the region have dealt with has increased in recent years. Major crimes happen occasionally, said Yu Huitang, the spokesman for Xinjiang High People's Court, during a briefing in Urumqi in June.

In 2014, courts in the region heard 1,423 drug-related cases, among which 1,028 have wrapped up, with 1,252 people convicted. In addition, 337 people have been sentenced, with punishment ranging from five years in prison to death.

According to Yu, the number of drug crimes remained high because of its special geographic environment, bordering the Golden Crescent, one of the two principal areas in Asia for illicit opium production, which overlaps Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. Besides Afghanistan and Pakistan, the autonomous region shares borders with another six countries, and international drug organizations view it as an ideal hub for transporting drugs to other cities in China as well as Central and South Asia.

An undercover police operation last year in Hami prefecture led to the arrest of eight suspected drug dealers, drugs and a loaded handgun.

Since 2010, the undercover police unit has dealt with 378 drug-related cases, captured more than 2,400 suspects and seized 546 kg of drugs.

Luo Wangshu contributed to the story.

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Woman 'swallowed heroin stash'

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