World

Japanese crime boss charged with trying to traffick nuclear materials to Iran

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Federal prosecutors in New York on Wednesday said they charged a Japanese Yakuza leader with conspiring to traffic nuclear materials from Myanmar to other countries in the belief that they would be used by Iran to make a nuclear weapon.


The accused gangster, Takeshi Ebisawa, “and his confederates showed samples of nuclear materials in Thailand” to an undercover agent from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration who was posing as a narcotics and weapons trafficker with access to an Iranian general, prosecutors said.


“With the assistance of Thai authorities, the nuclear samples were seized and subsequently transferred to the custody of U.S. law enforcement,” the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Manhattan said in a statement announcing a superseding indictment against Ebisawa and another man.


“A U.S. nuclear forensic laboratory later analyzed the samples and confirmed that the samples contain uranium and weapons-grade plutonium,” the statement said.