Japanese police accuse Marine Corps civilian of marijuana possession on Okinawa
Stars and Stripes January 26, 2024
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Japanese police have arrested a civilian employee of the U.S. Marine Corps on Okinawa on suspicion of possessing marijuana.
Clinton Michael Battles, 51, was taken into custody around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at his home in Ginowan city, a spokesman for the Ginowan Police Station said by phone Friday. Some Japanese officials may speak to the media only on condition of anonymity.
Police searched Battles’ home based on a tip that he may have the drug in his possession. Police found 0.77 grams of dried marijuana, less than one-fifth the weight of an American nickel, in a plastic bag, the spokesman said.
Marijuana possession can bring up to five years in prison under Japan’s Cannabis Control Act.
Battles, at the time of his arrest, told police it was “for his personal use,” the spokesman said.
Police are trying to determine Battles’ source for the drug, the spokesman added.
Maj. Rob Martins, spokesman for the 1st Marine Aircraft Wing, confirmed that Battles is a civilian who works with Marine Aircraft Group 36 at Marine Corps Air Station Futenma.
Battles was still in Japanese custody as of Friday afternoon, Martins said by email Friday.
“The alleged behavior does not reflect the core values of the U.S. Marine Corps, nor does it represent the conduct of the vast majority of Okinawa-based Marines or civilians,” he added. “We do not have any further information as this case is ongoing.”
Prosecutors, not police, decide charges under the Japanese justice system. Battles’ case was referred to prosecutors on Wednesday, a spokesman for the Naha District Public Prosecutors Office said by phone Friday.