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Investigators uncover alleged North Korean meth smuggling ring

Five foreigners were brought to New York from Thailand to face charges that they were conspiring to smuggle 100 kilograms of very potent, North Korean methamphetamine. The men were taken into custody on drug charges and transported to the U.S. on Nov. 19. They were brought before a judge on Nov. 20, and they all pleaded not guilty to conspiracy charges. The judge has ordered them to be held without bail until Dec. 5, which is their next court date.

According to court papers, in 2013, confidential sources worked with the Drug Enforcement Administration to set up a meeting with the alleged drug smugglers. The sources claimed there was a ready market for methamphetamine in New York City and the smugglers agreed to supply 100 kilograms. Following the meeting, the suppliers shipped two samples to the U.S., which tested 96 and 98 percent pure. After that, they agreed to bring the methamphetamine to Thailand. The drugs would be hidden in a boat and brought into the United States.

The court papers state that the suppliers allegedly sold over 30 kilograms of North Korean methamphetamine in 2012. The drugs were confiscated by officials in the Philippines and Thailand. The meth seized in 2012 tested over 99 percent pure. According to a DEA Administrator, this case illustrates how North Korea is a growing source of methamphetamine in the global drug market.

Drug smuggling or trafficking charges are extremely serious and may result in severe penalties upon conviction. Drug sentencing laws mean that a conviction may result in long prison sentences. A New York criminal defense attorney might be able to assist a person facing serious drug charges. Depending on the circumstances, the attorney may be able to broker a plea deal or offer representation in court.

Source: News Observer, "5 charged in US bust over North Korean meth", Tom Hays, November 20, 2013

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