Yakuza leader attempts to sell nuclear substances to Iran


(MENAFN) In a significant development, United States federal prosecutors have unsealed an indictment against Takeshi Ebisawa, accusing him of being a leader of a Japanese organized crime syndicate and attempting to sell weapons-grade nuclear materials to Iran. Already facing charges related to drug and weapons trafficking in April 2022, Ebisawa is set to appear before an American judge alongside his alleged co-conspirator, Somphop Singhasiri. The indictment, filed in the Southern District of New York, alleges that Ebisawa, associated with the Yakuza transnational organized crime syndicate, contacted an individual he believed to be an Iranian general in 2020, offering to sell nuclear weapons components.

The twist in the case unfolds as the supposed Iranian general turned out to be an undercover agent from the United States Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). According to DEA Administrator Anne Milgram, Ebisawa presented an offer to sell "uranium and weapons-grade plutonium," expecting Iran to utilize them for nuclear weapons. The indictment reveals that during a video conference in February 2022, one of Ebisawa's co-conspirators claimed possession of over two tons of Thorium-232 and more than 100 kilograms of "yellowcake" uranium, asserting the capability to produce up to five tons of nuclear materials in Myanmar.

The subsequent meeting between Ebisawa, two others, and the DEA agent included the presentation of two containers containing a powdery yellow substance described as "yellowcake." Prosecutors shared photos labeled as "nuclear samples" taken by the DEA agent.

The unfolding case not only raises concerns about illicit attempts to sell nuclear materials but also underscores the intricate nature of transnational organized crime networks and their involvement in potentially catastrophic activities.

This article delves into the details of the indictment, exploring the alleged actions of Ebisawa, the implications of attempting to sell nuclear materials, and the collaborative efforts between law enforcement agencies to thwart such criminal activities. The case highlights the ongoing challenges in monitoring and preventing illicit transactions involving weapons of mass destruction and the critical role of international cooperation in addressing these threats.

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