South Korean prosecutors have secured a warrant for the arrest of an active duty U.S. soldier suspected of smuggling drugs into the country and plan to indict him next week.
The Seoul Central Prosecutors' Office said on Thursday that it had been investigating a private from the Eighth U.S. Army, whose name was withheld, on charges of smuggling 3,400 grams of synthetic marijuana from Hungary via international air mail between August last year and January of this year.
The smuggled quantity of the drug has an estimated street value of 200 million won ($175,500), representing the largest drug smuggling case ever busted in South Korea, the Yonhap news agency reported quoting the office.
The soldier is suspected to have sold the drug to his colleagues and foreigners in South Korea, and the prosecutors propose to expand their investigation into other sales channels involving Koreans.
The prosecutors said they would indict the soldier as soon as the U.S. Army handed him over to South Korean authorities, slated for Monday, which would make him the first active duty American solider to be arrested on drug charges.
The Korea-U.S. Status of Forces Agreement, which governs the legal status of U.S. servicemen stationed in South Korea, requires Korean prosecutors to indict American soldiers within 24 hours of their arrest.
Illegal drug users or traffickers can get a maximum five years' prison or a fine of 50 million won in South Korea.
by RTT Staff Writer
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