Yakuza Boss Caught in Alleged Plan to Buy Missiles in Exchange for Drugs

U.S. Department of Justice photo of Takeshi Ebisawa holding a rocket launcher, from compla
U.S. Department of Justice photo

A Japanese leader of the international crime syndicate Yakuza and others were caught in an alleged scheme to buy missiles in exchange for drugs headed to New York and were arrested Monday and Tuesday.

The New York Post reported Thursday:

Japan citizen Takeshi Ebisawa, 57, negotiated deals with an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration agent to ship US-made weapons to insurgent groups who paid with kilos of meth and heroin, according to a complaint unsealed Thursday.

The alleged traffickers were planning to distribute the drugs in New York and provide heavy-duty weapons like surface-to-air missiles to two militant groups engaged in the ongoing violence in war-torn Burma, the US Attorney for the Southern District of New York said.

Methamphetamine is a strong and extremely addictive stimulant in the form of white crystalline powder, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

“It also has longer-lasting and more harmful effects on the central nervous system. These characteristics make it a drug with high potential for widespread misuse,” the website read.

Heroin was described as an opioid that can be in the form of powder or a black substance:

When people overdose on heroin, their breathing often slows or stops. This can decrease the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain, a condition called hypoxia. Hypoxia can have short- and long-term mental effects and effects on the nervous system, including coma and permanent brain damage.

Per the Post article, among those arrested in the alleged plan were three Thailand citizens, one of whom was also a citizen of the United States, adding that the four men were held after their initial appearances in court.

Officials had reportedly been keeping an eye on Ebisawa for a few years. In addition, the Yakuza boss and two others believed the weapons were stolen from U.S. Military bases located in Afghanistan.

The U.S. Attorney’s office press release issued Thursday described the Yakuza as “a network of highly organized, transnational crime families with affiliates in Asia, Europe, and the Americas, and is involved in various criminal activities, including weapons trafficking, drug trafficking, human trafficking, fraud, and money laundering.” Drug Enforcement Administrator Anne Milgram noted that the accused were planning to distribute the drugs “at a time when nearly 300 Americans lose their lives to drug overdose every day.”

Meanwhile, U.S. Attorney Damian Williams declared, “Members of this international crime syndicate can no longer put lives in danger and will face justice for their illicit actions.”


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