TOKYO (TR) – Kazuhiro Kokubo, a former Olympic snowboarder, has been accused of smuggling what is known as “marijuana wax” from the U.S., law enforcement said, reports Sankei Sports (Nov. 7).
Last December, Kokubo, 30, allegedly worked with a male accomplice to smuggle 57 grams of marijuana wax via the international mail to Japan through Narita International Airport.
On Wednesday, Kokubo surrendered to an office of the Kanto Narcotics Control Department in Chiyoda Ward. Later that day, investigators searched Kokubo’s residence in Chitose City, Hokkaido Prefecture.
“[This was] different from smuggling,” Kokubo was quoted in partially denying the allegations.
Tokyo Customs officials discovered the contraband after its arrival at the airport on December 31. Kokubo surfaced as a person of interest in the case following the arrest of the accomplice, aged in his 30s, last month.
According to investigators, marijuana wax, made from oils in marijuana plants, is more potent — on a weight basis — than dry marijuana. The wax retails for as much as 10,000 yen per gram.
Turin and Vancover
Kokubo represented Japan in the halfpipe at the Winter Olympic Games in Turin in 2006. Four years later, he placed eighth in the same event in Vancouver.
Also in 2010, he took first place at the US Open Halfpipe. He repeated the feat the following year.
Kokubo is a mentor to Ayumu Hirano, who took the silver at the halfpipe at Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
Prior to departing for the Games in 2010, Kokubo was photographed at Narita International Airport with his uniform shirt untucked and his pants hanging low. His appearance caused him to later be banned from appearing in the Opening Ceremony in Vancouver.
Note: This story has been updated to reflect that the material in question is marijuana wax.