U.S. moves to dismiss major drug case

June 22, 2009 at 8:46 PM
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WASHINGTON, June 22 (UPI) -- The Justice Department has asked a U.S. judge to dismiss drug charges against a Shanghai-born Mexican pharmaceutical executive due to "evidentiary concerns."

In court papers filed Monday in Washington, Justice Department attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Emmet Sullivan to drop the case against Zhenli Ye Gon, who was arrested in Wheaton, Md., in 2007 and subsequently indicted in Washington on charges he aided and abetted an operation to make methamphetamines in Mexico and sell them in the United States, The Washington Post reported.

The charges were filed against Zhenli following raids on his properties in Mexico City. Investigators said they seized $207 million in cash during the raids.

The Justice Department filing came after a hearing in which Sullivan chided prosecutors for not promptly turning evidence over to defense attorneys that might have helped the defendant. Prosecutors acknowledged in the filing they were having trouble delivering anticipated testimony by two key witnesses.

"With one key witness in the criminal case having stated that previous statements made about the defendant were untrue and another key witness in the criminal case having expressed an unwillingness to testify, the United States has evidentiary concerns in light of these changed circumstances," prosecutors said in the court filing.

Mexican authorities have indicated they want to extradite Zhenli for trial on drug charges, the Post said. Prosecutors said in their filing Monday that Zhenli would be more appropriately tried in Mexico.

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