Tokyo – Japanese authorities have uncovered a suspected drug trafficking and money laundering ring believed to be run largely through Israeli-run jewelry kiosks in Tokyo.
Authorities believe the international ring was headed by Kobe Chechashvili, an Israeli living in Estonia, who is suspected of overseeing a crew of Israeli “soldiers” who ran the kiosks, reportedly bringing in millions of dollars in business.
Police say Chechashvili founded the network that trafficked Heroin, Ecstacy, and Cocaine through Japan to a number of countries and used the kiosks to launder the money. Police believe a great deal of the money was also laundered in Israel, as well as through real estate purchased abroad.
One of the central figures arrested in the investigation is Meir Biton, “King of the Kiosks”, who is also considered a major figure in Tokyo nightlife.
Suspects in the case were arrested in September and had their remands extended a number of times since. The investigation has been carried out by authorities in Estonia, Japan, and Israel, with officers from the international crimes investigation unit traveling to Estonia and Japan to gather evidence against the suspects in the case, which reportedly broke after wire-tapping produced evidence for arrests.
In spite of the arrests and the evidence against the suspects, police so far have found no drugs in the possession of any suspects, but say they are confident they can bring indictments against them nonetheless