Meth for Missiles: Yakuza mobster Arrested in New York Trying to Buy Surface-to-Air Missiles

Following a Drug Enforcement Administration investigation, alleged Japanese Yakuza leader Takeshi Ebisawa, 57, was arrested in New York this week along with three Thai associates accused of conspiring to sell drugs in the US to purchase missiles for armed groups in Myanmar.

Prosecutors said that Ebisawa and his co-conspirators, Sompak Rukrasaranee, Somphob Singhasiri, and Suksan Jullanan, intended to distribute hundreds of kilograms of methamphetamine and heroin to buy the weapons.

U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a press release: “The drugs were destined for New York streets, and the weapons shipments were meant for factions in unstable nations. Members of this international crime syndicate can no longer put lives in danger and will face justice for their illicit actions.” Japan’s notorious Yakuza are members of Mafia-like organized crime syndicates. The Department of Justice said Ebisawa’s international criminal network spans Japan, Thailand, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Europe, and the United States.

Officials said The DEA had been investigating Ebisawa since around 2019. A criminal complaint unsealed on Thursday provided some details. Ebisawa was introduced an undercover DEA agent posing as a narcotics and weapons trafficker to associates to arrange large-scale narcotics and weapons transactions.

The report continues: “At the meeting, Ebisawa handled and inspected an array of US Army weapons brought by the agents, including three portable M72 light anti-tank rocket weapons, ten 7.62 M60 machine guns, and ten 5.56 Colt Canada C8 fully automatic rifles.

The undercover agents also showed Ebisawa photographs and video of 400 US Army surface-to-air Stinger missiles purportedly stored at a nearby bunker. After the meeting, Ebisawa allegedly told the agent that the political situation in Myanmar was deteriorating and that the rebel groups United Wa State Army and the Shan State Army needed weapons.

Ebisawa has been charged with five counts, including narcotics importation conspiracy, conspiracy to acquire, transfer, and possess surface-to-air missiles, and money laundering. Many of the charges carry a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. Read the original article on Insider.

D&B Staff

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