Leniency for man who smuggled drugs to pay for grandfather's sur - KUAM.com-KUAM News: On Air. Online. On Demand.

Leniency for man who smuggled drugs to pay for grandfather's surgery

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Strapped for cash with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of drugs strapped to his thighs. One Chinese passenger busted with smuggling the drug "ICE" into Guam is sentenced in federal court today. While the crime is serious, the court listened to the defendant's compelling back story and offered leniency as a result.

Assistant Federal Public Defender Leilani Lujan made a compelling case for the court. "It's a horrible thing with a good intention," she stated. Her client, 33-year-old Chi Hang Leung, hung his head low. With the help of a Chinese interpreter, he begged for mercy. "I made a stupid mistake... I'm begging your honor, if you allow me back home I will be a good citizen," he stated.

Though Leung faced up to 20 years behind bars, the court ordered he serve just under four years in jail with credit for time served.

Back in April, Leung arrived to the Guam airport from Hong Kong, but he wouldn't make it past customs' drug detector dogs. Underneath his clothes, Leung was carrying close to 1,000 grams of the drug "ICE" strapped to his thighs.

According to defense, Leung was desperate to help pay for his sickly grandfather's surgery and agreed to smuggle drugs into Guam in exchange for 40,000 Hong Kong dollars - that's just over US$5,100.

Once on island, the plan was to wait for a phone call from an unidentified person to pick up the drugs.

The court showed sympathy after hearing Leung's grandfather had passed away while he was incarcerated in Guam. "So all for nothing?" Chief Judge Frances Tydingco-Gatewood asked... defense agreed.

Defense further explained that Leung was simply a mule in the drug operation and played no major role.

Valued up to $800 per gram, Leung's arrest resulted in the seizure of close to $725,000 of the drug "ICE" with a 95-percent purity level.

Although others were named in court documents, no other arrests have been made.

The investigation, the government noted, remains open.

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