YOKOHAMA – A 43-year-old man and his 34-year-old wife have been arrested at Tokyo’s Haneda airport on suspicion of smuggling methamphetamine with an approximate street value of ¥1.8 billion ($16.7 million), police and customs officials said Monday.
The amount, about 30 kilograms, is the largest haul Japanese customs have confiscated in a stimulant drug smuggling case involving a passenger jet, the officials said.
Kazuki Sato, who runs a pet shop in Zama, Kanagawa Prefecture, and his wife Natsumi, are suspected of attempting to smuggle the illegal drug in their checked luggage — divided into 30 coffee pouches in two sports bags — from an airport in Nairobi, Kenya, to Haneda on April 4.
Customs officials at Haneda found the hidden narcotics during a luggage inspection and contacted the police.
The couple has visited Kenya multiple times since 2014 along with their 15-year-old and 5-year-old sons.
Kazuki told investigators he had been asked by a man he met at a bar in Yokohama to become a drug courier for him, and had since smuggled drugs six times for payments ranging from ¥4 million to ¥10 million per trip.
The suspect was also quoted as saying the man advised the couple to travel with their children so authorities would not cast a suspicious eye on them.