Life term sought for gangster charged with drug dealing

Prosecutors on Feb. 12 demanded a life prison term for a 56-year-old former mob kingpin accused of engaging in the illegal trade of stimulant drugs for two decades.

During the day’s session before the Tokyo District Court, prosecutors also called for fines totaling 38 million yen against Shigeyuki Tazaki, who once headed an underworld organization. Life imprisonment is the heaviest punishment applicable under a special narcotics control law implemented in 1992. The district court is scheduled to hand down its ruling March 14.

Prosecutors claimed that Tazaki engaged in the sale of illegal stimulants “on an unprecedented scale” for 20 years. “The accused handled a total of 50 kg (of illegal drugs), the equivalent of 2.5 million doses,” they said. Tazaki has pleaded guilty and has asked the court for leniency.

According to the prosecutors, Tazaki, in collusion with members of his group, sold 3 kg of stimulant drugs and about 1 kg of marijuana to brokers for 8 million yen between February and April 1996. He is also charged with importing 5.5 kg of stimulants, hidden in a shipment of paint sent from Hong Kong via international mail.