Crime Boss Did What?!

( – New York is once again the place where a high-ranking criminal has been arrested after threatening the lives of the innocent and the guilty alike.

A leader of Japan’s Yakuza crime group, Takeshi Ebisawa, has been charged in New York for trying to traffic nuclear material to help Iran build bombs.

He was caught selling uranium and weapons-grade plutonium to an undercover agent from the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) who pretended to be a trafficker with connections to an Iranian general. DEA Administrator Anne Milgram highlighted the gravity of the situation, saying Ebisawa did this “fully expecting that Iran would use it for nuclear weapons.”

Assistant Attorney General Matthew Olsen expressed relief that the plot was thwarted, stating, “It is chilling to imagine the consequences had these efforts succeeded.” The indictment reveals that Ebisawa started looking for a buyer for a large amount of uranium in 2020 and even sent photos of a rocky substance alongside a Geiger counter to the undercover agent.

In their communication Ebisawa confirmed his hope that the uranium would be enriched enough for weapons saying “I think and hope so.” He even offered to sell 50 metric tons of uranium and thorium for $6.85 million. In a recorded call Ebisawa mentioned he had access to more powerful uranium and plutonium for military use acknowledging the secrecy and illegality of the transaction.

Apart from nuclear materials Ebisawa was also negotiating for deadly weapons including surface-to-air missiles and a large number of firearms as per Southern District of New York US Attorney Damian Williams. The indictment traces the nuclear material back to a leader of an ethnic insurgent group in Myanmar with Ebisawa intending to use the uranium sales to fund weapon purchases.

The operation led to a meeting in Thailand where nuclear samples were shown and eventually Thai authorities seized the nuclear samples in Bangkok.

Ebisawa now facing eight charges including money laundering and conspiracy to traffic nuclear material was already in custody in Brooklyn at the time of the indictment.