An American environmental activist evading the United States government was sentenced to three years in prison on Friday in Dali for manufacturing drugs, according to a New York Times report.
Former New Jersey resident Justin Franchi Solondz, 30, who had been living in Dali under the name Isaac Cox, was arrested in Dali in March of this year with illegal drugs and faked Canadian identification, the Times reported his parents as saying.
According to Solondz's father, police found more than 30 pounds of marijuana at the apartment he rented in Dali, where it was buried in the courtyard. The prosecutor for the case characterized the inside of the younger Solondz's home as a "drug laboratory", he said.
When finally brought before a court for trial in October, Solondz pleaded guilty to the drug charges he faced and requested deportation back to the US, which he was denied.
After finishing his Chinese prison sentence, Solondz will be deported to the United States where he awaits his arson-related charges.
On the other side of the Pacific, Solondz is on the FBI's wanted list for conspiracy to commit arson, arson of a government building, arson of property used in interstate commerce, use and carrying of a destructive device during and in relation to a crime of violence and making unregistered destructive devices.
The FBI accuses Solondz of being involved with a splinter group of the Earth Liberation Front, a decentralized environmental activist group which the US government declared the top domestic terrorist threat in early 2001. He was indicted in absentia in 2006 for his alleged involvement in a three-state arson spree in the American west in 2005.
It is widely believed that the Chinese and American governments met regarding the case and that Solondz received a relatively mild sentence as a result of US diplomacy. In October of this year, UK citizen Akmal Shaikh was sentenced to death for dealing drugs in Xinjiang in northwestern China.
While standing before judges at the intermediate court in Dali, Solondz praised Dali as a "paradise" and apologized to the people of China for his actions.
Justin Solondz 2002 photo: FBI via New York Times© Copyright 2005-2021 GoKunming.com all rights reserved. This material may not be republished, rewritten or redistributed without permission.