South Korean Police Accuse 17 U.S. Soldiers of Drug Crimes

The police in South Korea on Wednesday accused 17 American troopers and 5 different folks of distributing or utilizing artificial marijuana that had been introduced into the nation by way of the U.S. army’s postal service.

The police stated that they had not arrested any of the troopers, however that that they had requested prosecutors to file expenses towards all 22 folks. A Philippine nationwide and a South Korean nationwide have been underneath arrest, stated the police within the metropolis of Pyeongtaek. Synthetic marijuana is an unlawful substance in South Korea.

Cha Min-seok, a senior detective, stated the drug investigation was one of the biggest lately involving American troopers. Most of the distribution of the drug had taken place on U.S. bases, by way of troopers speaking on Snapchat, Detective Cha stated. Two of the civilians have been a soldier’s partner and one other soldier’s fiancée, he stated.

In South Korea, after the police end a felony investigation, prosecutors overview it, generally conducting their very own probe, earlier than deciding whether or not to carry indictments.

The United States Forces Korea, which oversees the roughly 28,500 American troops stationed within the nation, had no speedy remark. The police stated its four-month investigation had begun with a tip from the U.S. Army’s felony investigation division.

Illegal drug use is far much less widespread in South Korea than within the United States, however the authorities says it’s on the upswing, particularly amongst youthful folks, and it has been promising to crack down on it extra vigorously. Even earlier than this incident, the South Korean authorities had lengthy considered the U.S. army bases scattered across the nation as potential sources of drug trafficking.

The police in Pyeongtaek, the place the U.S. Army base Camp Humphreys is situated, stated a 24-year-old U.S. soldier there had obtained about 12 ounces of artificial marijuana by way of the army postal service. The substance was smuggled in disguised as e-cigarette liquid and blended with vaping liquid, the police stated.

Synthetic marijuana is a time period for a range of substances that mimic THC, the primary psychoactive ingredient of marijuana. Some of the substances are banned within the U.S., according to the Drug Enforcement Administration. Synthetic marijuana is commonly bought within the United States underneath the names Spice and K2.

The police, as is customary in South Korea, didn’t launch the names of any of the 22 suspects. They stated seven of them, together with 5 troopers, have been concerned within the sale of the drug, 12 have been customers and three acted as go-betweens.

The police stated they seized about 2.7 ounces of the drug, and $12,850 in suspected proceeds from its sale, throughout their investigation, which concerned executing a number of search warrants on U.S. bases in Pyeongtaek and town of Dongducheon.

By South Korean regulation, these convicted of exporting or importing marijuana or possessing it for such functions can face from 5 years to life in jail. Those who promote or purchase marijuana face a minimal of one 12 months in jail. Those who use it may be sentenced to as much as 5 years in jail or fined as much as $37,600.

The police’s announcement was one other embarrassment for United States Forces Korea, two months after Pvt. Travis T. King, an American soldier who had served jail time for assault expenses in South Korea, crossed the border into North Korea.

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