Blog dedicated to reporting on Mexican drug cartels
on the border line between the US and Mexico

Wednesday, April 24, 2024

Yakuza Member Arrested in Japan for Trafficking 15 Kilos of Meth from Mexico

"Socalj" for Borderland Beat

6 people have been arrested in Japan for allegedly smuggling stimulants from Mexico by hiding the drugs in small machinery shipments. The six include a senior member of a Yakuza gang affiliated with the Sumiyoshi-kai syndicate.

Investigative sources say they allegedly smuggled about 15 kilograms of stimulants last June for commercial purposes. The drug reportedly has a street value of ¥940 million, or about $6 million.

The sources say customs authorities found the stimulants hidden in rollers of imported small conveyor belts at Narita International Airport. They say investigators suspect a Mexican drug cartel is involved.

The conveyor belt roller was shipped by air cargo from Mexico to Japan in June last year. The large and heavy items such as the rollers are not commonly shipped this way due to high costs. Customs officials grew suspicious and dismantled the roller for closer examination.

The drugs were discovered in the roller that was put inside a wooden box measuring 170 by 130 centimeters at Narita Airport. Police and narcotic control agents say there have been a growing number of cases in which illegal drugs are smuggled into the country hidden in machinery imports.

The investigation has extended to potential links between the suspects and a Mexican drug cartel. Methamphetamine is the most abused drug in Japan and this isn't the first time it has been confiscated at airports.

In 2023, an American woman was arrested for mailing 1 kilo of meth from Guatemala, hidden in handmade bags, to Japan. The package was to be delivered to the vacation rental she was staying at in Tokyo. Drug mules flying from Mexico to Japan directly were also caught several times last year. Including attempts of around 5-7 kilograms being smuggled on a person's body and clothing at a time.

Senior Yakuza Member Arrested

The suspects have been arrested under the stimulants control law, police said Tuesday. The Metropolitan Police Department has not disclosed whether the suspects have confirmed or denied the charges against them.

One of the suspects arrested was Mikio Kuramochi, a 76-year-old senior figure in the Sumiyoshi-kai crime syndicate in the city of Warabi, Saitama Prefecture. The identities of the other suspects have not yet been disclosed.

Sumiyoshi-kai Syndicate

As of 2015 reports, the Sumiyoshi-kai is Japan’s second-largest Yakuza organization and the largest that operates in Tokyo, with roughly 3,400 active members, and 8,500 if you include associated members. The current sosai (President) is Shigeo Nishiguchi.

Matsugoro Ito initially founded the organization as a Tokyo Shibaura area bakuto (gambler) union in the early Meiji Era (late 1800s). Though Yakuza organizations usually take on the name of their founder or their founding location, Ito named his group the “Sumiyoshi Family” after his birthplace in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi Sumiyoshi-cho. Following WWII, Shigesaku Abe was elected to the 3rd socho (supreme leader), who adopted expansionist policies. Japan recognizes the current formation of the organization taking place in 1958 (when they began to keep records on the Yakuza).

Unlike the other two largest Yakuza organizations (Yamaguchi-gumi and Inagawa-kai), the Sumiyoshi-kai operates more like a loose federation of many gangs centered around the Sumiyoshi-ikka.

Hareaki Fukuda (right), kaicho of the Sumiyoshi-kai, pictured with Hidetoshi Tanaka (left), Chief Director of Japan University and Vice Director of the Olympic Commission.

Recently, the Sumiyoshi-kai has strongly advocated a peaceful route; some sources even claim that the usage of handguns is prohibited. Instead, the Sumiyoshi-kai claims to be fostering friendly relationships with neighboring organizations. However, the continuing shooting conflicts between other organizations seem to indicate this peaceful message hasn’t penetrated lower ranks, and just how fragmented the organization is.

The Sumiyoshi-kai is a government-designated “boryokudan” (criminal organization), which places members and associates on various watch lists, preventing them from taking out loans, renting apartments, etc.

President Obama identified the Yakuza as a significant TCO in July of 2011. In 2012, the US Treasury Dept. designated the Sumiyoshi-kai Clan as a transnational organized crime group and sanctioned its leaders and financial networks. “Today’s designation of the Sumiyoshi-kai also supports the Administration’s intensified efforts to combat trafficking in persons given the Yakuza’s long-standing involvement in sex trafficking throughout Asia.”

According to US authorities, the Sumiyoshi-kai, are involved in serious criminal activities, including weapons trafficking, prostitution, human trafficking, drug trafficking, fraud, and money laundering.

Decline of the Yakuza in Japan

As of 2022, the largest organization, Yamaguchi-gumi had 8,100 members in total, down 400 from the previous year, accounting for 36.2% of all organized crime members in Japan. The next-largest organization, Kobe Yamaguchi-gumi, had 6,100 members when it was formed in 2015, but its ranks have thinned to just 760 today.

The members and associate members of these two organizations, combined with those of the four other major groups (Kizuna-kai, Ikeda-gumi, Sumiyoshi-kai, and Inagawa-kai), totals 16,100 persons, accounting for 71.9% of all gang members.

According to the National Police Agency, members and associates of designated crime syndicates numbered 22,400 as of the end of 2022, a year-on-year decrease of 1,700. This marks the eighteenth consecutive year-on-year decline and the lowest number on record since 1958 when statistics were first kept.

The number of members and associates arrested in 2022 fell by 1,832, to 9,903, dipping below 10,000 for the first time. The decrease takes place against the overall decline in the power of organized crime, with a majority of the arrests being for stimulant-related crimes.

The largest number of arrests was for violations of the Stimulants Control Act (2,141), followed by cases of fraud (1,424), assault resulting in injury (1,424), theft (847), violations of the Cannabis Control Act (619), and extortion (453). In addition, there were 79 arrests for murder.


  1. What absolute fools!
    How stupid can you be?
    Why didn’t they just write
    “Here’s the drugs” on the shipping containers?
    What morons
    They’re going to go from “smuggle” to “snuggle” in their jail cells.
    Crime does not pay kids,
    especially when you’re a fucking idiot about it.

  2. Ramen for brains!

  3. They should have fucked around with the Chinese Triad or the Thai Meth Kings instead!!! Yakuza are dumb.

  4. Help me I need my glasses! I thought the title said "Yakuza Mother" convicted. Now that's an unattractive female!!


Comments are moderated, refer to policy for more information.
Envía fotos, vídeos, notas, enlaces o información
Todo 100% Anónimo;