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Customs Officials Discover Pot Being Mailed to US Air Base in Japan

Maureen Meehan



Smugglers have been using Yokota Air Base, the headquarters of U.S. troops in western Tokyo, to mail pot into Japan.

“Japanese customs officials at Yokota Air Base discovered marijuana being sent to an APO box in September,” officials said Tuesday in a statement, as reported by Stars and Stripes.

The pot, valued at 8.5 million yen or $72,000, originated in Canada, according to the Tokyo Broadcast System.

The package was sent as unofficial mail to a U.S. service member who was unaware of its contents, according to police quoted by Japanese broadcaster NHK World.

The American service member gave the package to a Japanese national who then gave it to another foreign national at a local bus station in Tokyo, according to the NHK report. Both were arrested.

Japan’s National Police Agency and the U.S. military were immediately notified, and Tokyo Metropolitan Police are leading an investigation into the incident.

This is not the first time smugglers have used the military mail system to send drugs across international borders.

In 2012, the Korea Customs Service found 6.6 pounds of mostly synthetic marijuana, worth $52,100, in mail bound for U.S. service members in South Korea.

But a word to the wise about Japan—Japanese drug laws are among the harshest in the world, and can be even worse if you’re a foreigner.

According to the U.S. State Department, “offenders can expect long jail sentences and fines. In most drug cases, suspects are detained and barred from receiving visitors or corresponding with anyone other than a lawyer or a U.S. consular officer until after indictment. Solitary confinement is common.”