TOKYO (TR) – The Tokyo District Court on Thursday handed down an innocent verdict to two Nigerian nationals accused of smuggling stimulant drugs from Hong Kong three years ago, reports TV Asahi (Dec. 7).
In handing down the ruling, presiding judge Kazunori Karei did not recognize that Jerome Wabonma, 55, and Steve Johnson, 47, were aware that four kilograms of kakuseizai, or stimulant drugs, were inside a rucksack upon their arrival on a flight at Haneda Airport on December 25, 2013.
“It is not recognized that [the defendants] were aware that the contents of the bag possibly contained illegal drugs, the presiding judge said in handing down the decision.
The prosecution had sought of prison term of 15 years and a fine of 8 million yen.
A customs staff member discovered the drugs, with a street value of 160 million yen, inside small plastic bags that had been inserted into the rucksack.
At the time, police believed that the suspects were a part of a group of approximately 100 drug smugglers operating in the Kanto area. In this case, the the defendants received the drugs from a Japanese national in Hong Kong. The drugs were intended for a Japanese organized crime member.
The judge also found fault with the claims of the prosecution that the defendants were members of the smuggling ring. “There is no evidence that the two [defendants] are part of the ring,” the judge said.