ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on November 10th, 2012 at 7:29 am

Soldiers Explain Details of Their Drug Smuggling Operation In Korea

Picture from Flickr user ChrisGoldNY

I figured that when these guys got arrested for smuggling spice through the mail that they had done it before:

The U.S. military has come under sharp criticism over a drug-smuggling ring that imported at least one shipment of synthetic marijuana through the military mail system, with South Korean politicians suggesting checks of packages were too lax.

It turns out that at least one defendant has testified he used the South Korean postal system for several shipments, too.

Details about the smuggling ring are still emerging, including how deeply the drug selling penetrated into the Korean community.

Arin Bergquist, a former Camp Casey soldier, told the Seoul Central District Court last month that he ordered from a website at least four shipments of synthetic marijuana, also known as spice, ranging from four to 50 ounces each, between August 2011 and January 2012.

Bergquist said he was discharged in October 2011 but returned to South Korea the following month on a tourist visa and continued to sell spice.

He said he distributed it at $400 per ounce to other soldiers to sell, including his roommate, Pvt. Michael Lehmkuhl of the 70th Brigade Support Battalion, 210th Fires Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. Both men are charged for taking part in the drug-smuggling ring.  [Stars & Stripes]

You can read the rest at the link, but I thought it was interesting that the Korean politicians complaining about the military mail system did not have anything to say about the fact that the drug smugglers were also using the Korean postal system to mail drugs as well.  I would have to imagine though that the fact the soldiers were using the post office in Dongducheon must have raised eyebrows considering there is a post office on Camp Casey.

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  • Teadrinker
    3:16 am on November 11th, 2012 1

    And how many deaths has ‘synthetic marijuana’ caused in South Korea? How many deaths have alcohol and tobacco caused? Yeah, the Korean government has its priorities straight once again.

    What’s so wrong about the prohibition here is that people can remember when it came into effect. It only dates back to Park Chung Hee’s authoritarian government. It was a pretext to stifle the youth movement back then.

    Considering the spartan laws, and the ridiculous prices being asked for it as a result (400$ for an ounce of fake shit?! I’m no expert, but that’s clearly a massive ripoff), I wouldn’t recommend smoking it unless you were a 70 year-old farmer with arthritis or glaucoma (and therefore could get away with growing a plant or two). Yes, some actually do, apparently. It was the subject of two comedies about a decade ago, as a matter of fact.

  • Leon LaPorte
    3:42 am on November 11th, 2012 2

    I suspect many countries, like Korea, were pressured into their current drug laws by the US even though they, like the US, never really had a problem to begin with.

  • Teadrinker
    4:12 am on November 11th, 2012 3


    Possible, but it’s a known fact that Park Chung Hee began cracking down on marijuana in 1975 (the Marijuana Crisis of 1975). It was a pretext to crackdown on the growing youth culture, jailing some very influential and popular musicians and banning them from performing. Another reason I’ve heard mentioned is that his son had a problem with drugs (I read somewhere he’s been arrested 6 times for it since the 80s), but those problems might have started after his two parents were assassinated…You must admit, that would f you up.

  • John in LA
    11:17 am on January 11th, 2013 4

    President Park had 3 kids. Oldest was a daughter who is now the president-elect of S Korea. She had 2 other siblings. One is a male who had issues with drug. But supposedly he’s cleaned up and holding down a regular job.
    The other sibling (a female) is also living a normal life.


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