Pubdate: Tue, 5 Oct 1999
Source: Japan Times
Copyright: © 1999 Japan Times
10 ARRESTS; BOAT FROM TAIWAN
616 kg drug bust largest on record
KAGOSHIMA (Kyodo) A total 616 kg of stimulants were confiscated Sunday evening along the Kurose shoreline of Kasasa, Kagoshima Prefecture, in the largest domestic drug bust ever, police in Kagoshima and Fukuoka prefectures said.
Police also arrested nine Chinese and Taiwanese men
and one Japanese on suspicion of violating the Stimulants Control Law by possessing the drugs for profit. The
Japanese was identified as Atsushi Ishii, 33, of Shiroi, Chiba Prefecture.
The street value for the haul was estimated to be
about Y36.96 billion.
Ishii and three other suspects were arrested while unloading the stimulants from a rubber dinghy, police said.
Teng Ching-chih, 40, and four crew members of a Taiwan-registered fishing boat
were arrested offshore by the Maritime Safety Agency. One
of the five-member crew was from Hong Kong, and the rest
Police were also searching for several other men who
fled the scene. The ringleader was believed to be among them, investigators said.
The amount of stimulants seized in Sunday's bust topped the 528 kg confiscated by police in Kanagawa Prefecture in July 1996.
Sunday's seizure also tops the total 549 kg taken by police nationwide during the whole of last year, officials said.
According to investigators, a bag containing 19 kg of stimulants was found on the same beach in April, and police were looking into possible links with Sunday's bust.
Police said the suspects were arrested after they ferried the stimulants to the shore at around 9 p.m.
They were apprehended just as they were loading the drugs into two automobiles.
Some of those under arrest are denying the charges, police said without further elaboration.
The stimulants were placed in 28 bags weighing 22 kg each, and police also seized the fishing vessel, investigators said. The vessel left Taiwan several days ago, according to its records.
Local police worked with the Metropolitan Police Department and maritime safety authorities to pull off the bust after Fukuoka police received a tip in mid-August that a large amount of stimulants would be smuggled into the country from that point, they said.
The Kurose coastline of Kasasa is an area with jutting rocks that few people pass at night, making it an ideal spot for illegal drug operations, sources familiar with the case said.
At the same time, the smuggling group had readied a rental car and each member had an assigned role, indicating there was a highly organized group involved.
October 5, 1999