The trial of a 29-year-old U.S. civilian base worker for violation of the Customs Law and Cannabis Control Law was held at the Naha District Court on Dec. 16. The defendant is suspected of smuggling a total of 2251.2 grams of cocaine by falsely identifying it as marijuana and of possessing sprigs of cannabis at his home. Judge Sakamoto Tatsuhito gave the verdict of four years in prison, a 1 million yen fine, and an additional fine of 200,000 yen (prosecution demanded six years’ imprisonment and a 1 million yen fine).
Judge Sakamoto said, “This was a serious act that threatened to spread the harmful effect of drugs in Japan.” Sakamoto noted that, although the defendant was in a rank-and-file position and followed instructions given by his accomplice, he “played an important role, and his motive of greed and the background circumstances are not to be sympathized with.”
According to the ruling, the defendant conspired with an accomplice in June to illegally smuggle a solid substance containing cocaine by falsely identifying it as marijuana. The defendant received 100,000 to 200,000 yen each time he handed an item to a person designated by the accomplice. The defendant was also found to have been in possession of 0.242 grams of cannabis sprigs at his home in Nakagusuku. (Personal name has been redacted.)