Man Jumps Out Hotel Window after $25 Million Heroin Seizure
SEATTLE (AP) _ A man charged with importing as much as $25 million worth of heroin was recaptured Tuesday after he tried to elude authorities by jumping out an eighth-floor hotel window, authorities said.
Tomy Chen Shen of Taiwan was firstarrested Sunday after federal agents seized about $25 million worth of heroin from the lining of ice buckets carried to Seattle-Tacoma International Airport as baggage, said U.S. Attorney Gene Anderson.
A federal complaint charging Chen with importing and smuggling heroin was filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court, and a warrant was issued for the arrest of Han Sheng Fang of Taiwan, said Anderson.
After his arrest, Chen had agreed to cooperate with federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents and was flown to Chicago in hopes that he could help lure others in the deal, Anderson said.
″We were playing out the option that perhaps the Chicago people weren’t aware of the seizure,″ said Anderson. ″He was to be contacted there.″
The contact was to be made at the Chicago Hilton, but Chen tired to escape Tuesday morning by jumping out the window on the eight floor, Anderson said.
″We were told he fell six stories onto a roof, slid off two more stories and then was arrested when trying to hail a cab,″ Anderson said. ″We concluded he was no longer cooperating.″
Chen was treated at an undisclosed hospital for compressed vertebrae and a broken ankle, said Paul Higdon, assistant special agent at the DEA office in Seattle.
Anderson said Chen would appear before a United States magistrate for a bond and removal hearing after he recovered.
Customs agents became wary when they noticed that the two men had no luggage except briefcases and 138 ice buckets. The passports of the two men were taken and when a hole was drilled in one of the ice buckets, ″a white powder, later identified as heroin, drained from the interior of the ice bucket where insulation would have been found,″ said a news release from Anderson’s office.
While the ice buckets were being examined, Sheng asked if he could use a restroom. He then fled through an exit.
The ice buckets have not been fully examined to determine whether each contains heroin, but the weight of the packages indicates that each probably contains the drug, said Anderson.
″This load was obviously destined for an East Coast market,″ Anderson said. ″Seattle is being used as a transhipment point or an entry point. That amount couldn’t be absorbed in this market.″