Spouse gets suspended sentence in drug case
NAHA, Okinawa — A U.S. civilian convicted of inhaling speed was sentenced Monday to 18 months in prison, suspended for three years.
Maunel Taitano, 42, husband of a civilian Marine base employee, nodded his head silently as Naha District Court Chief Judge Hiroyuki Yoshii delivered the sentence.
During a previous hearing, Taitano admitted he heated the illegal stimulant — phenylmethyl aminopropane — and inhaled the vapors March 1 at the Yomitan home of Satsuki Kawamura, the girlfriend of the supplier, Yuichi Mekaru, 29.
Yoshii said there were no extenuating circumstances for Taitano’s abuse of the substance. However, he suspended the sentence, stating that Taitano showed remorse and promised to stay away from illegal substances for the rest of his life. Taitano could have been sentenced to 18 months of hard labor in a Japanese prison.
Taitano had been under Japanese custody since his arrest, which came during a two-week period when all Americans connected to the U.S. military were restricted to their bases or off-base homes after a series of alleged crimes by Americans. Taitano still could face action by the Marine Base Inspector. In the past, U.S. civilians accused of drug use and possession in a Japanese court have been barred from Okinawa bases.