IBARAKI (TR) – Ibaraki Prefectural Police have busted a yakuza-lead marijuana cultivation ring in Oyama City, Tochigi Prefecture that raised plants inside locations that included a former sex parlor, reports NHK (Nov. 17).
Police arrested Akira Fujimoto, a 60-year-old boss in the Sumiyoshi-kai, Yoshiyuki Suga, a 58-year-old member of the same gang, and another gangster, 33, for the cultivation of marijuana with the intent to sell.
On Tuesday, investigators searched two locations in Oyama, including a shop in a multi-tenant building that formerly served as a fuzoku (or commercial sex) parlor, and seized 47 plants under cultivation, dried cannabis in cardboard boxes and plastic bags and grow lights, according to TV Asahi (Nov. 18). The street value of the contraband is estimated at 15 million yen.
Fujimoto denies the allegations. “Growing marijuana is my hobby,” the suspect is quoted by police. The other two suspects have admitted to the charges.
Police suspect that proceeds from the sale of the marijuana are a funding source for the Sumiyoshi-kai.