Monday, November 25, 2013

Putting the NK in "crank"

Some day, years or decades from now, North Korea may just implode and South Korea will be left to absorb this failed state and all its problems. Among them will be a terrible problem with methamphetamine addiction and production (see also herehere, and here).

In fact, North Korea is increasingly gaining notice as a major manufacturer of methamphetamine, known in South Korea as hiroppong. And that's why it's not all that surprising to find that US drug enforcement authorities are targeting those who would transport and sell North Korean methamphetamine in the US.

From AP, via Huffington Post:
Five foreigners were charged in the United States on Wednesday with plotting to smuggle 100 kilograms of highly potent methamphetamine that was produced in North Korea.

The men were arrested in Thailand in a sting operation in September and brought to New York on Tuesday night. All pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges on Wednesday before a judge ordered them held without bail until their next court date on Dec. 5.

Two defendants were members of a Hong Kong-based criminal organization that marketed meth produced in North Korea, U.S. authorities said. The others — two citizens of Great Britain and a resident of Thailand — agreed to store and transport the drugs, they said.

According to court papers, the suppliers sold more than 30 kilograms of North Korean meth in 2012 that was seized by authorities in Thailand and in the Philippines. The meth tested more than 99 percent pure, the papers said.

In 2013, the suppliers agreed to provide 100 kilograms to confidential sources working with the Drug Enforcement Administration who claimed there was a ready market for it New York City, the papers said. One of the defendants bragged that the organization was the only one able to get meth from North Korea after pressure by the United States prompted a government crackdown on production there.
With talk of 99% purity, global trade, stockpiling, etc., this is starting to sound like a real-life version of Breaking Bad, something noted by several of the news services.

Anyway, here is a picture of those accused:

The five arrestees in Thailand are (front row, left to right) Slovak Alexander Lnu, Filipino Allan Kelly Reyes Peralta, Briton Philip Shackels, Taiwanese Ye Tiong Tan Lim, and (second row center left) Briton Scott Stammers).

I've heard a lot of people argue whether going on individual tours to Nroth Korea is propping up the regime there, and I've heard people debate whether ethnic Koreans in Japan who send money back to relatives in North Korea are indirectly assisting the government, both arguments with merit on each side. But make no mistake: People who would do something like this are the scum of the Earth. They are not only feeding an addiction that rips people, families, and communities apart, but they are doing so in a way that profits a terrible regime. And these folks are lucky they're being handed over to the Feds, because in the US they won't get the death penalty for their crimes.

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