US prosecutors accuse Japan-based crime gang in drug case

Apr 7, 2022, 5:01 PM | Updated: 5:55 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — Four men associated with a Japan-based crime syndicate known as “yakuza” have been charged with trying to negotiate a deal to exchange high-powered weapons for drugs with an undercover U.S. agent, federal prosecutors announced Thursday.

The men were arrested earlier this week in Manhattan after a sting operation led by the Drug Enforcement Administration. Prosecutors said the DEA agent infiltrated the organization by posing as an arms dealer eager to trade surface-to-air missiles — presumably meant for warring factions in Myanmar — in exchange for methamphetamine and heroin destined for New York City.

“The expansive reach of transnational criminal networks like the Yakuza presents a serious threat to the safety and health of all communities,” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said in a statement.

The defendants made initial appearances in federal court in Manhattan, where they were ordered held without bail, prosecutors said. A message was left with a lawyer for Takeshi Ebisawa, a Japanese national who was singled out as an alleged ringleader of the local crew.

Court papers describe the yakuza as an “international criminal network, which spans Japan, Thailand, Burma, Sri Lanka and the United States.”

The papers added that the defendants who were allegedly seeking the deal with the DEA undercover “understood the weapons to have been manufactured in the United States and taken from United States military bases in Afghanistan and planned for the narcotics to be distributed in the New York market.”

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


FILE - Maricopa County Recorder Stephen Richer speaks inside the Recorders Office, Nov. 9, 2022, in...
Associated Press

Dominion conspiracies highlighted by Fox lawsuit have election officials concerned for safety

Maricopa County officials are bracing for what could happen when it comes time to replace its contract for voting equipment.
1 day ago
A building is damaged and trees are down after severe storm swept through Little Rock, Ark., Friday...
Associated Press

Tornado causes widespread damage to buildings, vehicles in Little Rock

A tornado raced through Little Rock and surrounding areas Friday, splintering homes, overturning vehicles and tossing trees.
1 day ago
FILE - Former President Donald Trump speaks with reporters while in flight on his plane after a cam...
Associated Press

Worries grow that Trump indictment could undermine public confidence in other investigations

Trump’s attempts to overturn those results amid false claims of widespread fraud are at the heart of two other ongoing investigations.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/Superior Court of Arizona in Yavapai County)...
Associated Press

Arizona judge has cases reassigned following DUI arrest

The Arizona Supreme Court has ruled that all cases currently assigned to a Yavapai County Superior Court judge recently arrested on suspicion of extreme DUI will be reassigned to other judges.
5 days ago
Haitian migrant Gerson Solay, 28, carries his daughter, Bianca, as he and his family cross into Can...
Associated Press

US, Canada to end loophole that allows asylum-seekers to move between countries

President Joe Biden and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Friday announced a plan to close a loophole to an immigration agreement.
8 days ago
Expert skateboarder Di'Orr Greenwood, an artist born and raised in the Navajo Nation in Arizona and...
Associated Press

Indigenous skateboard art featured on new stamps unveiled at Phoenix skate park

The Postal Service unveiled the “Art of the Skateboard" stamps at a Phoenix skate park, featuring designs from Indigenous artists.
8 days ago

Sponsored Articles

(Photo by Michael Matthey/picture alliance via Getty Images)...
Cox Communications

Valley Boys & Girls Club uses esports to help kids make healthy choices

KTAR’s Community Spotlight focuses on the Boys & Girls Club of the Valley and the work to incorporate esports into children's lives.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Company looking for oldest air conditioner and wants to reward homeowner with new one

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.
(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
US prosecutors accuse Japan-based crime gang in drug case