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Expats, O`seas Koreans Nabbed in Major Drug Bust

Posted October. 24, 2009 09:07,   


Expats and ethnic Koreans undergoing short-term study at universities in Korea have been booked on charges of selling and administering narcotics such as cocaine and hemp.

The narcotics investigation squad of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency said yesterday that three suspects were arrested on charges of selling cocaine, hashish and hemp, including an 18-year-old American.

Three others were indicted without physical detention on the same charges, including an ethnic Korean student at an international school.

Fifteen foreigners and an ethnic Korean living in the U.S. were also charged with buying and using narcotics.

Most of the suspects were ethnic Koreans from the U.S. studying the Korean language or attending international schools. Several are foreigners with a Korean parent.

Of 21 suspects booked by police, five were aged under 20. Surprisingly, two of the suspects -- one American and one Italian -- booked on the charge of administering drugs were 16.

A police officer said, “The suspects are between their late teens and early or mid 20s. Nevertheless, they seemed not to feel guilty about selling or administering drugs. They might’ve already used drugs in other nations.”

The American suspect allegedly bought cocaine, hemp and hashish in large quantities from an unidentified expat in Seoul’s Itaewon district in May. Given that the average per capita dose of cocaine is usually 0.03 grams and that of hemp is 0.5 grams, the cocaine the suspect brought was enough for 2,000 people with a street value of 200 million won (170,000 U.S. dollars), and the hemp was sufficient for 300 people with a street value of 15 million won (12,690 dollars).

After purchasing his stash, the American reportedly sold them to a fellow American for five million won (4,230 dollars) per 20 grams of cocaine and 500,000 won (423 dollars) per 10 grams of hemp. The remainder was used by the pusher or sold to others such as the ethnic Korean student at the international school.

Hemp buyers resold their stuff to expats or ethnic Koreans temporarily studying in Korea for 100,000 won (85 dollars) per gram. They charged doubled what they paid, knowing that narcotics users will pay a high price to maintain their habit.

Eleven students learning Korean at domestic universities were booked on charges of administering and inhaling narcotics bought from pushers.

Police say they used them at public places such as streets, coffee shops and movie cafes, and were caught after a suspicious school official reported them to police.

Police seized 40 grams of cocaine, 50 grams of hemp, 1.8 grams of hashish, and three grams of hemp seeds. Also confiscated was 12 million won (10,152 dollars) in cash earned by selling drugs or used to buy them at the American suspect’s residence in Seoul’s Namyeong district.