Ex-Yokosuka sailor gets 10 years for smuggling drugs through mail
By ERIK SLAVIN | STARS AND STRIPES Published: March 25, 2014
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — A former Yokosuka sailor was sentenced to 10 years in prison Monday for smuggling drugs into the country through the U.S. military postal system.
Jonathan Octavio Nunez, 32, who was extradited to Japan to face the charges, also received a 5 million yen ($49,000) fine following his conviction for violating Japan’s narcotics control law, Yokohama district court officials said Tuesday.
The conviction and sentencing comes almost 10 years after he mailed illegal drugs to the post boxes of two civilian employees at Yokosuka Naval Base, according to court records. Nunez, a former USS Vincennes sailor who was administratively separated from the Navy in 2003, was unemployed and looking for a way to support the Japanese woman he married in May 2004, according to U.S. federal court documents.
In July 2004, he traveled to Canada and mailed a package containing almost 30,000 doses of MDMA, commonly known as Ecstasy, to Yokosuka Morale, Welfare and Recreation employee Babe A. Cole, using a fake name and return address.
Nunez sent another package containing 137 MDMA tablets, 20,076 mixed MDMA/methamphetamine tablets and 137 grams of crystal methamphetamine to MWR employee William Jenkins, according to a 2010 U.S. federal court filing.
Both packages were intercepted at Narita International Airport in July 2004. Cole and Jenkins were arrested soon afterward and each sentenced to seven years in prison, after confessing that Nunez had paid them to receive the packages.
Following Cole’s and Jenkins’ arrests, Nunez he lived openly in Minnesota and Miami. He also lived in Peru briefly while working for his father’s aviation parts company, according to court filings.
Japan began proceedings to bring Nunez back for trial under a bilateral extradition treaty in 2009. After years of appeals, Nunez was arrested in July 2013 by Japanese police at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, aboard a Japanese commercial flight parked on the tarmac.
Stars and Stripes reporter Hana Kusumoto contributed to this report.