Japanese mob boss charged with trafficking nuclear material to Iran

NEW YORK, NY – U.S. legal authorities have brought charges against a prominent figure in the Japanese underworld, Takeshi Ebisawa, for his alleged involvement in a conspiracy to smuggle nuclear materials from Southeast Asia to Iran.

According to the charges, Ebisawa, a reputed Yakuza boss, demonstrated samples of the illicit materials to an undercover Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) agent, who was impersonating a drug and arms dealer with connections to Iran. The nuclear materials, reportedly smuggled from Myanmar to Thailand, were later intercepted and found to contain both uranium and weapons-grade plutonium.

The DEA’s top official, Anne Milgram, condemned Ebisawa and his accomplices for their alleged involvement in the trafficking of drugs, arms, and nuclear materials. She expressed her belief that they fully anticipated Iran would utilize the materials for the development of nuclear weaponry.

The source of the nuclear materials, according to the prosecution, was an unidentified leader of an ethnic insurgent group in Myanmar, who had been extracting uranium within the country. Court documents suggest that Ebisawa proposed the insurgent leader sell the uranium through him to finance the purchase of weapons from an Iranian general.

The samples provided by the insurgent leader were analyzed by a U.S. federal lab, which confirmed the presence of uranium, thorium, and plutonium. The plutonium was found to be of weapons-grade, indicating its potential use in the creation of a nuclear weapon.

Ebisawa, aged 60, was one of four individuals apprehended in Manhattan in April 2022 during a DEA operation. He has remained in custody since his arrest and is one of two defendants named in a revised indictment. Ebisawa faces charges of international trafficking of nuclear materials, conspiracy to commit the said crime, and several other counts.

The defendants are set to appear in a federal court in Manhattan for their arraignment on Thursday.