Five Charged by DEA for Involvement in North Korean Meth Ring

Defendants charged with attempting to smuggle 100 kilograms of meth into the U.S.

Five foreign nationals have been arrested and charged with conspiring to import North Korean-made methamphetamine into the United States, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced Wednesday afternoon.

The five accused drug traffickers were arrested in Thailand in September and extradited to New York, where they arrived yesterday evening, according to the DEA.

The defendants – which include two British nationals, one Chinese citizen, a Philipino, and a Thai national – stand accused of trying to import 100 kilograms of the North Korean meth, which is the drug of choice in Midwest America.

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The arrests underscore North Korea’s rise as a principal source of meth, according to the DEA.

"This investigation continued to highlight the emergence of North Korea as a significant source of methamphetamine in the global drug trade," DEA Administrator Michele M. Leonhart said in a statement.

"Like many international criminal networks, these drug traffickers have no respect for borders, and no regard for either the rule of law or who they harm as a result of their criminal endeavors," Leonhart said.

Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said authorities are working to shut down North Korea’s meth market.