SEOUL, South Korea — Two women were arrested in Pyeongtaek city earlier this year on charges of trafficking synthetic cannabis obtained by a U.S. service member, a South Korean police officer said Friday.

The women — a South Korean and a Filipino — were taken into custody May 15 and accused of distributing synthetic cannabis provided by a service member at Camp Humphreys, a Pyeongtaek Police Station officer told Stars and Stripes by phone Friday.

The South Korean woman was dating the U.S. service member, who imported the synthetic designer drug, the police officer said before hanging up the phone.

Camp Humphreys, the largest overseas U.S. military base, is in Pyeongtaek, 40 miles south of Seoul. It’s the home of Eighth Army, the 2nd Infantry Division, U.S. Forces Korea and United Nations Command.

The officer, who spoke on the customary condition of anonymity, declined to provide further information about the U.S. service member and did not identify the women in custody. South Korean law shields individuals accused of non-violent crimes.

Eighth Army’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Korean National Police together are investigating the allegations, Eighth Army spokeswoman Maj. Mayra Nañez said by email Friday.

“These allegations do not represent our values or the respect we hold for the Korean people, their culture, laws, and regulations,” she wrote.

Synthetic cannabinoids go by many names, including Spice and K2, and are legal in some U.S. states but are banned for all U.S. service members and in South Korea under the Narcotics Control Act.

A conviction in South Korean courts for trafficking in narcotics carries a minimum five-year prison term. Drug possession carries a maximum sentence of five years or a fine of roughly $38,200.

David Choi is based in South Korea and reports on the U.S. military and foreign policy. He served in the U.S. Army and California Army National Guard. He graduated from the University of California, Los Angeles.
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Yoo Kyong Chang is a reporter/translator covering the U.S. military from Camp Humphreys, South Korea. She graduated from Korea University and also studied at the University of Akron in Ohio.

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