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July 28, 2009

Another DOJ Prosecution Falls Apart

Zhenli Ye Gon is a drug kingpin who made a fortune selling meth ingredients in Mexico. His arrest and prosecution was supposed to be a crown jewel in the DEA's War on Drugs.


Two years after indicting Ye Gon on a single conspiracy count, prosecutors admitted they didn't have much of a case. A key witness recanted. Another refused to cooperate. A judge in Mexico turned down American prosecutors' access to certain evidence. China presented "stumbling blocks" when the Justice Department wanted to depose witnesses there. And the trial judge accused prosecutors of hiding critical information from the defense team for nearly a year.

Prosecutors are now asking that the indictment against Ye Gon be dismissed without prejudice and that he be turned over to Mexico, where he is charged with, among other things, organized crime and firearm and drug violations.

The collapse of the Ye Gon case is the latest in a string of troubled high-profile Justice Department prosecutions. In April, the Justice Department asked that the public corruption guilty verdict against former Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska, be thrown out because prosecutors had failed to turn over key evidence to the defense. Justice prosecutors dropped charges in May against two pro-Israel lobbyists who were accused of illegally passing on national security information. And on May 8, a jury in federal court in Montana dealt Justice a big loss in finding W.R. Grace & Co. not guilty on charges that it knowingly exposed residents to asbestos.

Click through to see how the case fell apart.

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posted by Gabriel Malor at 11:41 AM

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