U.S. Arrests Japanese Yakuza Leader Over Alleged Drugs-for-Missiles Plot

United States authorities arrested a Japanese yakuza leader and three Thai men in a sweeping international plot to acquire surface-to-air-missiles in exchange for huge amounts of meth and heroin.

Authorities arrested Japanese yakuza leader Takeshi Ebisawa, Thai nationals Somphob Singhasiri and Sompak Rukrasaranee, and dual Thai-American citizen Suksan Jullanan in New York on April 4 and 5 on drug and arms trafficking and money laundering charges, the U.S. Justice Department said on April 7.

According to court documents, the men planned to acquire U.S.-made surface-to-air missiles and other heavy-duty weaponry from an undercover agent for armed rebel groups in Myanmar and Sri Lanka.

The men were to accept large quantities of meth and heroin as partial payment for the weapons, then planned for the drugs to be distributed in the New York market, the court documents alleged.

“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,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration had been investigating the four men and their scheme since at least 2019.

The four defendants were brought before a Magistrate court for preliminary hearings and were ordered detained.

Nearly all charges against the four men include maximum sentences of life in prison, according to court documents


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