U.S. spouse indicted on drug charge
Stars and Stripes March 15, 2008
NAHA, Okinawa — A 42-year-old American civilian was indicted in a Japanese court Thursday on a charge of drug possession, according to the Naha District Prosecutor’s Office.
Manuel D. Taitano, the husband of a civilian Marine base employee, was caught up in a drug raid of an Okinawa man’s Yomitan home Feb. 29.
When Japanese narcotics officers took him to their headquarters in Naha, a urine sample showed he had phenylmethyl aminopropane, an illegally manufactured amphetamine- like concoction, in his system, according to the indictment.
He has been in Okinawa police custody since his arrest March 1.
Police say Taitano was inside the home of Yuichi Mekaru, 29, a man under investigation for possible violations of Japan’s drug laws. Neighbors of Mekaru in the Furugen district of Yomitan had complained of suspicious activity in the area. Mekaru, who is unemployed, was arrested for receiving the drug from another individual on a road near his home.
Also arrested and charged with drug possession was Ryo Shinjo, 31. As of Thursday, neither Okinawan man had been indicted.
Taitano, who lives on Kadena Air Base, was not supposed to be off base the night he was arrested. All Americans connected to the U.S. military had been restricted to the bases or their off-base homes during the recent two-week “period of reflection.”
The indictment states that Taitano took the stimulant by heating it and inhaling the vaporization in Mekaru’s home.
No trial date has been set.
Stars and Stripes reporter Chiyomi Sumida contributed to this report.