A former civilian employee for the U.S. Marine Corps was sentenced last week in Japan’s Naha District Court to four years and four months in prison for cannabis sales, Stars and Stripes reports. Charles Yecla, 40, worked for Marine Corps Installations Pacific at the time of his arrest last year along with two other civilian employees and his son.
Chief Justice Hironobu Ono said at the sentencing that Yecla “spread marijuana’s evil influence far and wide,” and that the American “deserves the sentence.” Yecla was also fined the equivalent of $9,600.
According to a Ryukyu Asahi Broadcasting report, prosecutors say Yecla and his son sold cannabis from January to August 2019, earning more than $67,000. After Yecla’s arrest, police also found about a half-pound of cannabis worth about $10,600 and six potted plants, the Okinawa Times reported.
The two other unnamed Americans – a 30-year-old in Yomitan and a 39-year-old in Uruma – were arrested on Aug. 30 and Oct. 23, respectively, after purchasing cannabis from Yecla, police said. Both men were charged with possession.
In all, police have arrested are referred charges for 20 people for their part in the ring, according to Stars and Stripes. Among those arrested was Hironori Tokito, 42, a former Okinawa bar manager who previously served as an assembly member for Umi town in Fukuoka prefecture.
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