YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — While there are no “gang wars” happening in Japan, a 2005 four-on-one beating had ties to one of America’s oldest gangs, according to both the attackers and the victim.

The case, heard in a Yokosuka city court, was resolved in March 2006. It stemmed from the Jan. 4, 2005, beating of Curtis Brown, a former Navy sailor who was jumped by four former friends in an orchestrated attack, according to court testimony.

Brown was found unconscious and unclothed in a park. He was hospitalized for a month and still experienced vision and memory problems at the time of the trial.

Brown testified he knew U.S. sailor Jerry Smith back in the States through the notorious Crips gang, and that Smith got mad when Brown wouldn’t help him fake a drug test and upon learning that Brown wanted to be done with the gang.

The drug test’s results led to Smith being discharged from the Navy, but he organized the attack on Brown the day before he left Japan, according to trial testimony. The other attackers were Petty Officer 3rd Class Alenuis Denaro Lee, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jeremy Lamont Hill and another unnamed Navy sailor who was sent home before the trial.

Lee testified that he was “just following orders” under the hierarchy of the Crips and that he received a death threat for exposing the truth.

“I got a letter that said ‘Die, snitch! We know where you and your family are,’ ” Lee told the court. “I’ve been in the brig for safekeeping.”

Judge Setsuo Fukushima found Lee and Hill guilty of bodily injury and gave them two years imprisonment with forced labor, suspended for four years. Both men were subsequently sent back to the States under a policy that returns servicemembers convicted in Japanese court 30 days after final judgment if they are not serving jail time.

Kanagawa Prefectural Police’s international crime investigator cited the case as the only gang-related incident he has heard of in the area.

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