• Kyodo

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Chiba prefectural police and Narita airport customs officials have arrested three men, including an airport security guard, over smuggling amphetamine into the country by using a special pass that allows access to restricted areas.

Hideki Taniyama, 46, an employee of International Service Center, a security firm based here, and two unemployed men in their 30s were arrested for smuggling 6.5 kg of stimulant drugs with an estimated street value of 390 million yen.

It is the first drug smuggling arrest involving the use of a pass that allows staff to access restricted areas at a Japanese airport, according to the customs officials.

Police also confiscated another 1 kg of stimulants from the house of another person connected to the case and believe they have uncovered a large smuggling ring.

According to police, one of the unemployed men arrived at New Tokyo International Airport, some 60 km east of Tokyo, on Nov. 11 on a flight from Hong Kong with the drugs hidden in his carry-on baggage.

Taniyama, who was off duty that day, used his employee pass to enter the arrival area at the No. 1 terminal building — where entrance is restricted to authorized personnel. The man then handed him the package of drugs before going through customs.

Police, who had been working on the case since October, were waiting and arrested Taniyama and the other man after the package was handed over. They also arrested another man who was waiting outside the building.

The 6.5 kg of stimulants is the second largest haul in a single case so far this year.

Police believe Taniyama intended to leave the restricted area through a corridor for authorized personnel.

Police said Taniyama has admitted to the allegations and said he has smuggled stimulants several times in the past.

ISC is in charge of detaining and looking after foreigners who are deported on orders from immigration authorities at the request of airline companies. Airlines are responsible for deporting their inbound foreigner passengers who lack the required immigration paper work.

The police had been investigating the case since a 35-year-old man claiming to be Malaysian, who was arrested on suspicion of possessing 1 kg of amphetamine in October, told them his organization has “a secret route” that the police would never be able to discover.

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