According to US prosecutors, the leader of a Japanese criminal organization plotted to smuggle nuclear materials.

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According to US prosecutors, the leader of a Japanese criminal organization plotted to smuggle uranium and plutonium, believing that Iran would use them to create nuclear weapons.

According to federal authorities, Takeshi Ebisawa, along with other individuals, presented an undercover agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration [DEA] with samples of nuclear materials that had been transported from Myanmar to Thailand.

The individual pretended to be involved in illegal drug and weapon trade and boasted about having connections with an Iranian military leader.

According to media reports, the confiscated material was discovered to include uranium and plutonium of a quality suitable for making weapons.

Anne Milgram, the DEA administrator, stated that the accusations displayed the immoral actions of those involved in trafficking arms and drugs.

According to Milgram’s statement on Wednesday, the individuals accused in this case engaged in the illegal trade of drugs, weapons, and nuclear material. They even went as far as to provide uranium and weapons-grade plutonium, with the belief that Iran would use it to create nuclear weapons.

This is an exceptional demonstration of the immorality of drug dealers who behave with complete disregard for human life.

Prosecutors stated that the source of the nuclear substance was an unknown leader of a rebel group in Myanmar, who had been extracting uranium within the nation.

According to court documents, Ebisawa suggested that the leader use him as a middleman to sell uranium and use the funds to buy weapons from the general.

Prosecutors claim that the Myanmar leader submitted samples that were analyzed by a US federal lab and were discovered to contain uranium, thorium, and plutonium. The lab confirmed that the plutonium had a weapons-grade isotope composition, indicating that it could potentially be used in a nuclear weapon.

Prosecutors claim that Ebisawa, who is believed to be a top figure in a Japanese criminal organization with global reach, was one of four individuals taken into custody in New York City in April 2022 as part of a DEA sting.

He is currently imprisoned while waiting for his trial and is one of two defendants mentioned in an updated indictment. Ebisawa is accused of engaging in international trafficking of nuclear materials, conspiring to commit the crime, and multiple other charges.

The yakuza, a term encompassing various criminal groups in Japan, have expanded their international influence in recent times due to a shift away from their traditional sources of revenue (such as extortion and sex work) and increased scrutiny from the Japanese government.

In 2012, the US Treasury Department announced that it had seized the assets of the Yamaguchi-gumi, a notorious yakuza group in Japan. The group was also prohibited from conducting any business in the US due to their growing participation in illegal activities such as drug and human trafficking, money laundering, and other transnational offenses.

The Associated Press reported that an email was sent to Ebisawa’s lawyer, Evan Loren Lipton, requesting a statement.

According to US attorney Damian Williams, Ebisawa unlawfully transported the material from Myanmar to other nations in a bold manner.

According to Williams, he supposedly engaged in this activity under the belief that the material would be utilized for creating a nuclear weapons program. The plutonium he illegally transported, if enough was produced, could have been utilized for this purpose.

“Despite his involvement in selling nuclear materials, Ebisawa also engaged in talks to acquire dangerous weapons such as surface-to-air missiles.”

The accused individuals are set to appear in court on Thursday for their arraignment at the federal court in Manhattan.


The report was contributed by The Associated Press.


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