'Breaking Bad'-quality drug reportedly was 99% pure. Plot linked to September arrest in Thailand of ex-U.S. sniper nicknamed 'Rambo.'
Five foreigners extradited from Thailand to New York have been charged with conspiring to smuggle Breaking Bad-quality methamphetamine that was produced in North Korea, federal prosecutors announced Wednesday.
The suspects — two from Britain and one each from Taiwan, the Philippines and Slovakia — were arrested in September as part of a sting operation that nabbed a former U.S. sniper instructor nicknamed "Rambo," the alleged mastermind of a plot to import narcotics and kill a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agent. They arrived in the United States on Tuesday night and were due in court Wednesday
U.S. authorities said two men — Ye Tiong Tan Lim and Kelly Allan Reyes Peralta — belonged to a Hong Kong crime syndicate that supplied the 99%-pure meth produced in North Korea. Last year, authorities in Thailand and the Philippines seized 30 kilograms — more than 60 pounds. That led to the DEA sting, during which the suspects allegedly agreed to provide confidential informants with 100 kilos of Hermit Kingdom meth that would be smuggled across the Pacific.
Lim told the informants his organization had stockpiled a ton of methamphetamine in the Philippines after the North Korean government destroyed some of the labs "to show the Americans that they are not selling it anymore," according to court papers. He claimed the North Koreans had burned the labs of seven other crime groups, sparing only his organization's.
"Now only us, we have the NK product," Lim said.
"This investigation continued to highlight the emergence of North Korea as a significant source of methamphetamine in the global drug trade," DEA Administrator Michael Leonhart said in a news release.
The September arrests included two former U.S. Army snipers, including Joseph Hunter, a 20-year veteran nicknamed "Rambo" who was labeled a "contract killer." They and a retired German sharpshooter were indicted for plotting the murders-for-hire of a DEA agent and an informant in Africa.