Tokyo Metropolitan Police announced on Tuesday that they have in custody a member of the Sumiyoshi-kai organized crime group who will be charged for smuggling stimulant drugs into Japan from Taiwan. Keisuke Yamauchi, 63, and his 53-year-old wife, Hiroko, including six other suspects were taken into custody by the Tokyo police for smuggling 987 grams of drugs from Taipei City’s Songshan Airport to Tokyo’s Haneda Airport on February 10 early this year.
The drug bust was notable, as almost 1 kilo of drugs will have an estimated street value of around 70 million yen (over 700,000 US dollars). The drugs were hidden inside four packages of dried plums on the said flight. The plum packages were then discovered by Tokyo Customs staff members – they were inside the carry-on luggage of two women, both of whom are among the suspects already in the police’s custody. As standard procedure, the women were offered a free trip to Taiwan if they were forced to carry the drugs in their bags, the police revealed. Members of an organized crime group in Taiwan are believed to have inserted the drugs into the plum packages. But it was during questioning of these women that Yamauchi’s name came was mentioned. Yamauchi has reportedly denied all the allegations, as did six of the 8 suspects arrested.
This was not the first time that attempts to smuggle drugs into Tokyo have been stopped by Tokyo police. Less than two weeks ago, the Tokyo Metropolitan Police also captured around 240 kilograms (530 pounds) of illegal stimulant drugs smuggled into a port in Yokohama, along with ten suspects. The drugs, with an estimated street value of 16.4 billion yen (approx. 165 million dollars), are said to have originated from South America, hidden inside milling equipment that arrived by ship from Taiwan and China in late March. These recent incidents have led Tokyo police to believe that these cases may be part of the operations of an international smuggling ring.
[via Tokyo Reporter]