Two Chinese nationals have been sentenced for maritime drug smuggling, announced Eastern District of Texas U.S. Attorney Joe Brown Wednesday.


FeiShang Liang, 52, and KanHua Wu, 51, both of the People’s Republic of China, were found guilty by a jury of maritime drug smuggling violations following a four-day trial before U.S. District Judge Amos L. Mazzant, III on Aug. 2, 2018. Wu was sentenced to 235 months in federal prison on Nov. 13, 2018. Liang was sentenced to life in federal prison Wednesday by Mazzant.


According to information presented in court, on Nov. 24, 2016, while on routine patrol in the Eastern Pacific Ocean, a U.S. Coast Guard cutter detected a 120 foot long fishing vessel approximately 1,025 nautical miles west of the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. The Coast Guard launched its small boat to approach the fishing vessel, at which time the crew aboard the fishing vessel began throwing packages overboard. Afterwards, law enforcement officers recovered 42 packages containing 983 kilograms of cocaine and the seven crew members aboard the fishing vessel were arrested and charged with maritime drug smuggling violations. Testimony at trial revealed Liang was the ship’s captain and Wu was the engineer. A U.S. Coast Guard helicopter monitoring the vessel caught both Liang and Wu on videotape as they threw over one ton of cocaine outfitted with GPS trackers into the ocean as they were being pursued by the Coast Guard.


“We are committed to dismantling drug trafficking organizations and their entire global enterprise,” Brown said in a written release. “The work done by the Drug Enforcement Administration and United States Coast Guard in investigating this case has been outstanding in every respect. We will continue to follow the chain of distribution from the street all the way to the source of supply and prosecute everyone responsible.”


This case was investigated by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Coast Guard and prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorneys Jay R. Combs and Christopher Eason.