The United States has arrested a leader of the Japanese Yakuza and three Thai men and accused them of facilitating the trafficking of methamphetamine, heroin, and other drugs and attempting to purchase US-made missiles to arm armed groups within Myanmar and Sri Lanka.
Takeshi Ebisawa, Sompak Rukrasaranee (retired Thai military), Sompob Sangasiri, and Suksan Jullanan( Thai air force general) were all arrested on New York on Monday and Tuesday over drug and arm trafficking charges and laundering of money.
“The drugs were destined for New York streets, and the weapons shipments were meant for factions in unstable nations,” according to an official statement from the US attorney. “Members of this international crime syndicate can no longer put lives in danger.”
The suspects have been under scrutiny for several years by US Drug Enforcement Administration agents in Thailand since at the very least in 2019 for arranging to market an undercover agent massive quantities of methamphetamine and heroin in Myanmar’s United Wa State Army (UWSA), the ethnically armed group in the border region with China.
Takeshi planned to buy missiles, automatic machine guns, and airstrike missiles used for UWSA and Myanmarese armed forces.
Myanmar’s military took power in an unconstitutional coup in February 2021. It is fighting not only combatants armed in the border regions in which conflict has been rumbling for many years but also the so-called People’s Defence Forces, established by people who received basic training and assistance from ethnically militant groups.
The boss of organized crime also wanted to purchase guns for Sri Lanka‘s Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE), commonly referred to by the name of Tamil Tigers, the US stated. The group used to control eastern and northern Sri Lanka areas but was defeated in 2009, and its leaders were killed. In the report, Justice Department included a photo of Ebisawa dressed in bespectacled and an orange leather jacket sporting an unloaded rocket launcher on his shoulder at the time of the meeting.
On the 3rd of February last year, the 57-year-old Ebisawa, along with an associate, went to Copenhagen in which the undercover DEA agent as well as two secretly Danish cops showed them a range of US military weapons that were supposed to be sold, which included machine guns as well as anti-tank rockets. The charging document also contained an image of Ebisawa holding an unmanned rocket launcher at the gathering.
They also displayed Ebisawa photographs and a film of Stinger missiles used to hit aircraft.