Cocaine worth millions of dollars was found floating on the coast of Miura Peninsula in Kanagawa Prefecture last November 19. 120 kilograms, with an estimated value of 7.2 billion yen (approx. US$69 million), of the illegal drug was discovered inside six backpacks, which led the local police to believe that a major drug trafficking group is involved.
A 74-year old fisherman found four backpacks with a total of 80 kilograms of the illegal substance at around 5:30 AM in a small wharf in Yokosuka facing the Sagami Bay. A rope was keeping the four bags together, along with an empty polyethylene tank and a plastic bottle with a rod that glows yellow in the dark. Two more backpacks containing 40 kilograms of cocaine were found two days later on a coast farther north, and local police think that the additional bags were originally tied to the rope, but got disconnected as the winds were strong and the waves rough on the night of November 18.
Police believe that drug smugglers attempted to transfer the drugs from a mother ship to a smaller boat to bring it ashore. They noted that most traffickers smuggle the goods by finding an associate in one of the crew members of a ship that travels internationally to help toss out the narcotics in the seas, where recipients and other accomplices use a small fishing boat or vessel to fish it out in the ocean. The police noted the same tactics from 1996 and 2011, with the former involving a sports bag found ashore which contained nine handguns and 30 kilograms of marijuana, while the latter involved two bags with the drug ketamine.
The case has left the police confused as this would be one of the rare times that they see a botched smuggling job full of carelessness. They have also noted that most drug users in Japan employ stimulants and cocaine rarely. Lawyer Sakae Komori noted that, “the popularity of cocaine has been on the decline in the West, although drug traffickers and dealers have been trying to expand the markets in Asia in the past few years.”
[via Asahi Shimbun]
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