Anchorage man convicted in federal opium smuggling case

Posted: Sunday, April 21, 2002

ANCHORAGE (AP) -- An Anchorage man was convicted in federal court Friday of trying to smuggle 57 pounds of opium to Anchorage from Los Angeles, a federal prosecutor.

Cheng Koy Saechao, also known as Yao Ching Chao, was convicted of conspiracy to import opium, attempting to import opium and facilitating the transportation of smuggled goods. U.S. District Court Judge John W. Sedwick did not set a sentencing date.

The case came to light in October 2000 when a customs inspector in Los Angeles checked a shipment of 112 resin statues from Thailand, Assistant U.S. Attorney Crandon Randell said in a statement. Plastic bags containing the opium were found inside the statues.

Government agents a week later delivered the statues to an East Anchorage apartment, where Saechao was staying, Randell said.

Saechao faces 20 years in prison and $1 million in fines.

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