Japan seems to be a growing market for smugglers of illicit stimulant drugs as the first six months of the year saw the police catch 48 cases of the drugs brought in from 23 countries and regions. According to the National Police Agency, this is because there has been an increase in the street price leading to this becoming a key source of funding for organized crime.
Of the countries involved in the smuggling operations, Mexico is at the top of the list with ten cases, while Canada, Kenya and China had four each. Other countries involved with two cases each are South Africa, Uganda, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, India and Hong Kong. The investigation revealed that the cost of the drugs in Japan and South Korea are 80 times and 4 times more than in China and the United States respectively, making it the highest street price in the world. One of the sources says that it is because of the high price and the large volumes of product that drug syndicates have chosen Japan to be their new target. The substances that are considered illicit under the Stimulants Control Law include amphetamine and methamphetamine.
During the January-June period alone, police were able to confiscate 550 kilograms of stimulants, which is a big amount even compared to the annual basis. The last time they were able to seize more than 500 kilograms was for the whole year of 2000. They were also able to arrest 5,136 people on suspicion of possessing or using stimulants, which included five junior and senior high school students. But a source says that is just the “tip of the iceberg” as the business is much bigger than those they caught. Police believe that local organized gangs are taking the lead in the trafficking, in coordination with international crime rings. Some groups that previously forbid the selling of these drugs have now sanctioned the transactions, given the fact that they are now barred from construction and other “legitimate” businesses.
[ via Asahi Shimbun ]
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