US Prosecutors Charge Yakuza Leader

US Prosecutors Charge Yakuza Leader

( – US authorities often work undercover in many different capacities to gather evidence and hold criminals accountable for their activities. Sometimes, law enforcement agents work outside the United States to catch prolific criminals. One such recent mission resulted in charges against a Yakuza leader for conspiring to traffick nuclear materials.

On Wednesday, February 21, the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York announced a superseding indictment against Takeshi Ebisawa, a Japanese national and purported leader within the Yakuza Syndicate. It alleged that Ebisawa showed nuclear materials to an undercover DEA agent. The two reportedly met in Thailand, where the agent posed as a trafficker.

The DEA agent met with Ebisawa and a co-conspirator in several different discussions and meetings to review samples. The DEA then contacted and coordinated with Thai authorities to seize the samples. Thai allies turned over the samples to US law enforcement, and a US nuclear forensic lab provided testing. The samples tested positive for weapons-grade plutonium and uranium.

US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Damian Williams claimed Ebisawa “brazenly trafficked material … from Burma to other countries.” He further alleged the Japanese national “did so while believing that the material was going to be used in the development of a nuclear weapons program.” DEA Administrator Anne Milgram wrote in a statement that the situation outlined above displayed the “depravity of drug traffickers,” operating “with total disregard for human life.” She commended the team who worked on the case, including the agents and prosecutors.

The DEA agent worked to collect evidence beginning in 2020. Federal prosecutors charged Ebisawa and a co-conspirator, Somphop Singhasiri of Thailand, in April 2022 with various crimes, including firearms offenses and international narcotics trafficking. Authorities have charged Ebisawa with seven counts and Singhasiri with two. Both are facing life in prison if convicted.

Copyright 2024,