Japan eyes extradition of ex-navy man

Kyodo

Police said Friday they have obtained an arrest warrant for a former U.S. Navy serviceman at the Yokosuka naval base and might seek his extradition from the United States on drug-smuggling charges.

Kanagawa Prefectural Police said the 22-year-old ex-serviceman is allegedly the ringleader of a drug-smuggling ring that used the military mail service to avoid detection.

The daily Yomiuri Shimbun said in its Friday morning editions that police have started procedures to seek his extradition.

The former sailor, whose identity was not provided, left Japan on Aug. 6 for the U.S., one day after two civilian men who worked on the Yokosuka base were arrested over their alleged involvement in smuggling drugs, police said.

The former serviceman and the two civilians allegedly received a delivery from Canada of some 30,000 Ecstasy tablets and around 20,000 other tablets of drugs, including amphetamines, MDMA and other substances. The drugs were sent to a post office box at the base using the military mail service.

The Yomiuri said the man was a crewman on the missile cruiser USS Vincennes, which is forward-deployed to Yokosuka. He was dishonorably discharged last fall for a drug offense committed on base, it said.

The two suspected accomplices reportedly told Kanagawa police that the ex-sailor had sold drugs in Tokyo’s Roppongi district.