DEA Halts Weapons-Grade Plutonium En Route to Iran

A Japanese crime syndicate played middleman for the mullahs.

By Jason Stauffer, AM SPECTATOR                         28 February 2024

Last week, the Justice Department released charges against Japanese criminal syndicate Yakuza leader Takeshi Ebisawa, who was caught in a Drug Enforcement Administration sting attempting to sell weapons-grade plutonium to Iran. In the midst of the Gaza war, which has seen tensions with Tehran continue to rise, nuclear trafficking almost entered the already hostile situation for American troops in the Middle East.

Ebisawa and Thai national Somphop Singhasiri, previously charged with gunrunning and drug trafficking across international boundaries in 2022, first got caught up in the nuclear sting in 2020 when Ebisawa contacted DEA operatives known only as UC-1 and CS-1.

He offered to sell significant portions of nuclear material, showing photographs of Geiger counters measuring a rock-like substance as evidence. In response, UC-1 offered to broker a deal with an “Iranian general” who was actually a DEA agent, reports the DOJ.

Claiming to work on behalf of one of the rebel armies currently fighting Myanmar’s military junta, Ebisawa added a wish list of weapons the rebels wanted in exchange for almost 4,500 pounds of thorium and over 200 pounds of a concentrated uranium powder called “yellowcake.” Ebisawa’s unnamed co-conspirators said the total amount of nuclear material available was over five tons.

As the talks continued, Ebisawa and UC-1 met on the Thai island of Phuket, where the DEA agent was shown a substance alleged to be yellowcake, reports Radio Free Asia.

Following the meeting, Thai authorities raided a Bangkok office where Ebisawa had deposited the radioactive materials, which were then sent to the U.S. for analysis. American officials confirmed Ebisawa’s claims that the nuclear materials truly were weapons-grade.

How exactly the Myanmar rebels first obtained weapons-grade nuclear material remains unclear. The Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun reports that they had been mining it in their territory. According to nuclear watchdog NTI, Myanmar has five uranium mines that could have sourced the material, though only one has higher than low-grade ore.

Though none of those five mines are located in his territory, Yawd Serk, leader of the ethnic rebels in the Shan state of Myanmar, has been accused of sourcing Ebisawa’s uranium. While he admitted this week that foreigners have asked about obtaining uranium, he denied ever selling any.

Regardless of the materials’ origin, the Yakuza has proven itself willing to sell it to Iran. When asked by the undercover DEA agent if the material for Iran was weapons-grade, Ebisawa answered, “I think so and I hope so.”

“This is an extraordinary example of the depravity of drug traffickers who operate with total disregard for human life,” DEA administrator Anne Milgram said. “I commend the men and women of DEA and this prosecution team for their tireless work to protect us from such evil.

March 3, 2024 | 1 Comment »

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  1. The drug trade is of course totally debased and this is very frightening news in this report. We cannot yet know for sure but this has a believable air about. Biden is the biggest criminal because the Russians should, with their vast awareness of the dangers, be working with America. At every point America and all drove Russia to the very edge…as Russia begged them for peace. Shame on these despots like Michael and Laura in our circle. They are actual criminal facilitators who will never change. This actually is where the NeoCons have led the world into.