Japanese Crime Leader Arrested For Selling Nuclear Materials To Iran

U.S. prosecutors alleged Wednesday that a leader of a Japan-based crime syndicate conspired to traffic uranium and plutonium from Myanmar, believing Iran would use it to produce nuclear weapons.

Takeshi Ebisawa, 60, and his associates purportedly presented samples of nuclear materials transported from Myanmar to Thailand to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent posing as a narcotics and weapons trafficker with connections to an Iranian general, federal officials stated.

The nuclear material was confiscated, and tests revealed the samples contained uranium and weapons-grade plutonium.

“As alleged, the defendants in this case trafficked in drugs, weapons, and nuclear material — going so far as to offer uranium and weapons-grade plutonium fully expecting that Iran would use it for nuclear weapons,” commented DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “This is an extraordinary example of the depravity of drug traffickers who operate with total disregard for human life.”

According to court documents, the nuclear material originated from an undisclosed leader of an “ethnic insurgent group” in Myanmar involved in uranium mining. Prosecutors assert that Ebisawa proposed the insurgent leader sell uranium through him to finance a weapons acquisition from the general.

Prosecutors further noted that the samples provided by the insurgent leader, analyzed by a U.S. federal lab, contained uranium, thorium, and plutonium, with the plutonium’s isotope composition being weapons-grade, indicating its potential suitability for nuclear weapon use.