Two U.S. Forces Korea privates and six Korean-Americans allegedly smuggled bags of philopon methamphetamines into Korea inside cereal boxes. / Yonhap
By Ko Dong-hwan
Prosecutors on Wednesday arrested U.S. soldiers and their Korean accomplices for smuggling bags of philopon methamphetamines worth 13.6 billion won ($11.9 million).
Suwon District Prosecutors' Office arrested an American private, 20, and two Korean-Americans for infringing Korean narcotics laws. Prosecutors also booked without arrest another American private, 20, stationed at K-6 base in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, for providing an address to where the contraband could be sent.
They are also searching for four Korean-Americans.
An accomplice in California sent the drugs to Korea in December, prosecutors claim.
They weighed 4.1 kilograms ― enough for 130,000 users.
The drugs were in three bags and each was put inside a separate cereal box.
They were among 10 cereal boxes sent to the suspects.
The suspects used the Joint Military Mail Terminal (JMMT), which is known to have laxer custom service regulations than other postal terminals in Incheon International Airport.
But JMMT officials found the contraband.
Custom service agents reported the find to Korean police, the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command and Drug Enforcement Administration and requested a joint investigation.
The team searched an officetel in Gangnam-gu, Seoul, which allegedly stored the contraband, and found 90 grams of philopon and 11 grams of cocaine, according to Chosun Ilbo.
"Among the six Korean-American suspects, two were American citizens and the rest were expelled from the U.S. due to multiple criminal charges," the report said.