National

U.S. pair in Yokohama held in drug-smuggling via military mail service

Kyodo

Japanese police and customs officers have arrested two U.S. nationals on suspicion of smuggling 50,000 tablets of synthetic drugs to Japan from Canada via the U.S. military postal service.

Babe Cole, 25, and William Jenkins, 27, both residents of Yokohama, were arrested Thursday.

Cole is a civilian worker at the U.S. Navy’s Yokosuka base in Kanagawa Prefecture. Jenkins was dismissed from the same job in June. Both had served in the U.S. Navy.

Kanagawa Prefectural Police quoted Cole as saying he had been asked to smuggle the drugs and was promised a reward. Jenkins has denied being involved, according to investigation sources.

The drugs, which included Ecstasy, comprise the largest haul from Canada seized in Japan, Kanagawa police said. The drugs have a street value of around 200 million yen, they said.

Police customs checks on military mail are often less strict than for ordinary mail. They said they are investigating where the men obtained the drugs and if they were involved in other violations.

Police said the pair had a package delivered to a P.O. box inside the Yokosuka base in late July using the military mail. The package contained 30,000 tablets of Ecstasy and 20,000 tablets of assorted other drugs.

The sender’s address in Canada was fictitious and the drugs were labeled as health supplements. The package arrived at Narita airport via the United States by air, police said.

The contents were discovered when passing through customs in the United States. The U.S. military and Kanagawa police cooperated in the operation to locate the two men.

The U.S. military postal service is divided into two categories — for official use and for private use. The package in question was sent under the private category, police said.

The military postal service has been used in the past to smuggle guns and fake brand name products into Japan, customs officers said.

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