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SEOUL — South Korean officials announced Monday the results of a massive black-market sting operation — the second in just four months.

South Korean police officials confirmed they’re investigating 18 people — including two American base personnel and two AAFES employees — for smuggling 33,000 cases of beer and 425 tons of food into the South Korean black market system.

And in a new twist, all the food and beer was expired and was diverted en route to disposal.

Officials stressed Monday that while there have been no reports of illness, the “unsafe and potentially very dangerous” products should not be consumed.

The Army and Air Force Exchange Service is working with various U.S. and South Korean law-enforcement officials in connection with the case, according to an AAFES news release.

“Our cooperation in this investigation, as well as some success over the past year including prosecutions as a result of illegal activities at Camp Long, illustrate AAFES’ commitment to eliminate ration control abuse and diversion of duty-free products onto the Korean economy,” AAFES spokesman Lt. Col. Dean Thurmond stated in the release.

Chief Detective Lee Jo-cha, with the foreign affairs section of the Seoul Metropolitan Police Agency, said a 55-year-old AAFES employee named Yu and another South Korean are being held in pre-trial confinement for violating the Waste Disposal Management Act.

A 35-year-old AAFES worker named Baek is among 14 others who are being investigated but remain free, Lee said. Officials are seeking the whereabouts of two other men suspected in the case.

Lee said Yu, who worked for AAFES waste disposal, began selling the food in 2004 and the beer in 2005.

Yu and his co-conspirators made more than $2 million on sales and evaded tariffs, according to Lee.

Police began investigating the operation after being tipped that a lot of beer was making its way from bases in Dongducheon, home of Camp Casey, and Pyeongtaek, which houses both Camp Humphreys and Osan Air Base, into local bars, karaoke nightspots and street stalls across the country. Goods were discovered in Seoul’s Namdaemun Market and in the International Market in Busan, Lee said.

“So we began reverse-tracking … up possible routes of their smuggling,” he said.

What investigators discovered, Lee said, was that the AAFES workers were able to manipulate the tracking system by falsifying documents showing the goods were disposed of properly.

The case remains under investigation, Lee said.

In January, two AAFES employees were convicted of moving about 21,000 cases of beer from the U.S. Army’s Camp Long into the black market following a yearlong U.S.-South Korean investigation.

Kim Jong-hyuk, manager of Camp Long’s AAFES store, was sentenced to one year in prison. Cheong Bong-jung, a worker at the same store, was given a 10-month sentence that was suspended for two years.

Prosecutors decided not to charge two other AAFES employees accused of playing minor roles in that black-marketing scheme.

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