Tokyo Customs intercepted Japan’s single biggest haul of illegal stimulant drugs sent by international mail, weighing 64 kilograms with a street value of 4.1 billion yen ($38.5 million) last December.
|Stimulants in packages disguised as seasoning and smuggled via international mail, shown at Tokyo Customs (Chihiro Ara)|
A 25-year-old man from the United States has been indicted on a charge of violating the Stimulants Control Law.
The stimulants were hidden in packages disguised as powdered seasoning in four boxes posted from the United States and addressed to the suspect at a house in Tokyo’s Toshima Ward.
Tokyo Customs also found an additional 12.7 kg of stimulants in a separate express delivery addressed to the same person.
Customs officials in January filed a criminal complaint against the man with the Tachikawa branch of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office in western Tokyo.
The bust is indicative of a growing trend of stimulants being smuggled in smaller amounts by international mail or airline passengers instead of in larger amounts disguised as commercial cargoes on ships, which has been the main method in recent years.
In 2017, airline passengers were caught smuggling stimulants in 81 cases, 2.6 times more than in 2016, while packages of stimulants were found in 13 international mail shipments, a 3.3-fold increase on the previous year.
Seized stimulants totaled 283 kg in 2017, down 164 kg from 2016. Authorities took action against 100 smuggling cases, double the figure for the previous year, because small packages were frequently used, Tokyo Customs said.
Source: The Asahi Shimbun