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Soldier in South Korea charged with smuggling synthetic pot component

SEOUL — A Camp Carroll soldier has pleaded guilty to smuggling more than five pounds of an active ingredient found in synthetic marijuana into South Korea, the latest in a string of U.S. Forces Korea servicemembers to face prosecution on charges related to the designer drugs.

Pvt. Curtis Briggs, 20, of the 498th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion, smuggled the drug in a box that was sent to him, according to the Daegu area public affairs office.

According to a Daegu District Court judge, an unknown accomplice shipped a box containing five ziplock bags filled with AM-2201 — a component of many synthetic marijuanas — to Briggs earlier this year from a U.S. Post Office in Cleveland, Miss. The box arrived at Incheon International Airport on March 28, 2011, and passed through the initial customs control screening undetected, though drug-sniffing dogs later alerted airport officials about suspicious contents.

The case does not appear to be connected to a drug smuggling ring that involved at least half a dozen people — most of whom are believed to be former or current USFK soldiers, or to have some connection to the military — who participated in ordering or selling synthetic marijuana.

Briggs will be sentenced on Dec. 12.

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