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US Charges Alleged Japanese Yakuza Leader With Nuclear Material Trafficking

22.02.2024 09:57

US attorney says Takeshi Ebisawa showed samples of nuclear materials in Thailand to US Drug Enforcement Administration undercover agent.

An alleged leader of the Japanese organized crime group Yakuza has been charged in the US with trafficking uranium and weapons-grade plutonium from the southeast Asian country of Myanmar to other countries.

In a statement on Wednesday, Damian Williams, the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, said Takeshi Ebisawa, a Yakuza leader, showed samples of nuclear materials in Thailand to a US Drug Enforcement Administration undercover agent who was posing as a narcotics and weapons trafficker.

"With the assistance of Thai authorities, the nuclear samples were seized and subsequently transferred to the custody of U.S. law enforcement," it said.

A US nuclear forensic laboratory later analyzed the samples and confirmed that the samples contain uranium and weapons-grade plutonium.

Ebisawa and his co-defendant Somphop Singhariri were previously arrested and charged in April 2022 with international narcotics trafficking and firearms offenses in New York.

"The defendant stands accused of conspiring to sell weapons grade nuclear material and lethal narcotics from Burma (Myanmar), and to purchase military weaponry on behalf of an armed insurgent group," said Assistant Attorney General Matthew G. Olsen.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid -

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