Police have arrested seven Chinese men on suspicion of possessing around a ton of stimulants seized at a beach in central Japan, investigative sources said Wednesday.
The record seizure for a single bust in Japan, occurred in Minamiizu, Shizuoka Prefecture, earlier this week. The amount of stimulants, with an estimated street value of around 60 billion yen ($560 million), was slightly less than the 1,138.6 kilograms of stimulants confiscated across Japan last year, according to the National Police Agency.
The country’s second-largest single stimulant drug seizure was 597 kg, which was found on a boat anchored at a port in Naha, Okinawa Prefecture, in 2016.
The seven Chinese men in their 20s to 40s were arrested on Monday and Tuesday as some of them were unloading the drugs from a boat. All of the men have denied the allegation, the sources said.
The police suspect the involvement of a large international smuggling ring and believe the stimulants may have been transferred to the boat from another vessel while at sea, the sources said.
Local residents had reported sightings of a suspicious boat over several years, prompting the police to mount a stakeout on the beach, the sources said.